Australian Weather Calendar - Ocotber 2014

October photograph by Chris Tangey

Bushfires spawn a towering, twisting inferno

Dust devils, or willy-willys, are formed when a localised pocket of hot air rises quickly through a pocket of cooler air. Air rushes in below the rising air pocket, and it may begin to rotate, forming a dust devil. This dust devil, formed as a result of bushfire heating, has sucked up sand and fire. Call them what you will—fire whirls, fire devils or fire tornados—the vortices filmed by Chris Tangey in the Northern Territory in 2012 'roared like a jet aircraft'. The manager of Alice Springs Film and Television was on Curtin Springs Station when twisting red-orange braids of fire and debris were lifted and commented, 'It was phenomenal just how powerful they were'.