“FIRENADO” RAGES IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Hours after the massive Lake fire exploded in the Angeles National Forest near the 5 Freeway on Wednesday, the blaze exhibited extreme and alarming behavior, at one point forming a tornado-like flaming vortex.
The National Weather Service characterized the event as “an impressive and terrifying example of extreme fire behavior, when the fire is so hot, it creates rotation, along with very strong updrafts and pyrocumulus.”
Though such a phenomenon — commonly referred to as a fire tornado or fire whirl — is not unprecedented in California, it demonstrates the intensity with which the fire burned as it quickly grew to more than 10,000 acres.
The Lake fire started in the Angeles National Forest near the 5 Freeway shortly after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
As of Thursday morning, the blaze had scorched 10,500 acres and destroyed three structures. More than 5,000 buildings remain threatened, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
According to Los Angeles National Forest Fire Chief Robert Garcia, the fire is not yet contained, and at least 100 structures were evacuated.
“This will be a major fire for several days,” He said.