New study explains creation of deadly California ‘firenado’
REDDING, Calif. (AP) — A new study says a rare fire tornado that raged during the deadly fire this summer in Northern California was created by a combination of scorching weather, erratic winds and an ice-topped cloud that towered miles into the atmosphere.
The study in the Geophysical Research Letters journal used satellite and radar data to suggest how a monstrous “firenado” the size of three football fields developed on July 26.
The churning funnel of smoke and flame killed a firefighter. The study, published last month and announced Wednesday, says a key factor was an ice-topped cloud generated by the fire itself.
That cloud stretched the air column and helped create swirling, tornado-strength winds.
The Carr Fire claimed eight lives and more than 1,000 homes in the Redding area north of San Francisco.