Filmmaker Chris Tangey shot this incredible footage of a ‘fire devil’ near Alice Springs, Australia on September 11th. In the unedited, raw footage recently provided by Tangey you can watch as the tornado—which is technically more of a dust devil—towers over 100 feet (30 meters) high.
Like the dust devils that spring up on clear, sunny days in the deserts of the Southwest, a fire devil is birthed when a disproportionately hot patch of ground sends up a plume of heated air. But while dust devils find their heat source in the sun, fire devils arise from hot spots in preexisting wildfires.
These plumes form in a very small region over the land. They start to rise very rapidly, and as things start to rise, they suck the surrounding air in like a vacuum. Then you get this twisting that begins to resemble a vortex.
As the vortex rises and sucks the blaze up with it, its diameter begins to shrink and, like an ice skater pulling in her limbs to gather speed in a spin, its rotation accelerates.