Chris Tangey is a very lucky man as he witnessed a 100-foot-high (30-meter-high) whirlwind of fire tore around a patch of Australian Outback on Tuesday (Sept. 11).
According to a report on Yahoo filmmaker Tangey captured some very rare footage of the startling phenomenon while out scouting locations near Alice Springs, Australia.
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.
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.
Tangey's film might help to improve meteorologists' understanding of fire devils.
Perhaps it will advance meteorologial knowledge but for me it's a case of "Wow! Look at that!"