Fire Vortex in Parker County Wildfire: What Causes It? - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Fire Vortex in Parker County Wildfire: What Causes It?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Fire Vortex Spotted in Massive Parker County Wildfires

    NBC 5 Meteorologist Rick Mitchell describes a fire vortex, which was visible during the massive Parker County wildfires on Monday. (Published Monday, Jan. 22, 2018)

    Several grass fires burned parts of North Texas Monday. A combination of low humidity, dormant vegetation and strong winds were to blame for the fires.

    Texas Sky Ranger captured the leading edge of one of the fires, which included a fire vortex that resembled a tornado of fire.

    This vortex is caused by rapidly rising air that has been super-heated by the fire. As the air rises, it draws the flames briefly higher.

    The rotation of the flames is a function of the rising air combined with gusty winds.

    The whole thing lasts only a few seconds. Other than looking like a tornado of fire, the fire vortex shares very little in common with actual tornadoes.

    Raw Video: Parker County Brush Fire Prompts EvacuationsRaw Video: Parker County Brush Fire Prompts Evacuations

    A massive grass fire in Parker County forced the closure of Interstates 20 and 30 and the evacuation of two schools while lifting a plume of smoke into the air that was visible more than 60 miles away.

    (Published Monday, Jan. 22, 2018)

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