A fire tornado occurred near Chillicothe, Missouri, over the weekend and was captured in a photo by a passing motorist. The remarkable image has since gone viral.
The photo was taken last week by Janae Copelin about a mile north of 190 Highway. Copelin told KMBC 9 News
that she happened to be driving by a burning field and snapped the photo just as the a wind funnel sucked up the flames. Copelin subsequently posted the photo onto her Instagram feed.
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"Had such a wonderful weekend, but this had to be the coolest/scariest thing I've ever seen," Copelin wrote on Instagram below the photo. "A farmer burning off his field and as we stopped so I could take a picture the wind whipped up this fire twister. #nofilter #firestorm #firetwister."
"Thanks to my love of Instagram I chose to drive by and as I stopped to take a picture the wind whipped up the fire into this funnel," Copelin said in an email to KMBC 9 News. "The sound and heat were intense and a bit scary not knowing if it would stay put, but it only lasted a couple minutes."
Fire tornados, also known as "fire whirls" and "fire devils," are caused by a combination of changing winds that cross over a fire, causing the flames to get sucked up into the bottom of the hot-air vortex as it rises upward and increases in intensity, according to National Geographic
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