California wildfires spark terrifying 'firenados' as blazes kill 35 and devastate 3million acres forcing 500,000 to flee

California wildfires spark terrifying 'firenados' as blazes kill 35 and devastate 3million acres forcing 500,000 to flee

September 14, 2020

A "FIRENADO" has been caught on camera in California amid wildfires that have killed 35 and forced 500,000 people to leave their homes.

Fires in recent months have devastated millions of acres of land along the west coast of the US, with this year projected to be the worst wildfire season in the region's history.





In California alone, at least 24 people have died and more than 4,100 have been destroyed.

A red flag weather warning remains in place across the north of the state, with strong winds and low humidity set to stoke fires further over the next 24 hours.

The largest single fire, dubbed the August Complex, is almost 900,000 acres in size, making it California's largest wildfire on record.

A further ten people have died in Oregon, where a weather warning is also in place, while a one-year-old boy had been killed in Washington.

Footage over the weekend showed a rare "firenado" that formed over California.

A firenado, or fire devil, occurs when intense heat and turbulent air create a vortex to form what looks like a tornado made of fire.

Social media users reacted with amazement to the clip.

"2020 is something straight out of a dark science fiction novel, y'all ever seen a tornado on fire?" one wrote.

A second said: "2020 said 'Hey, y'all know what's missing? A firenado!

"That would be so awesome!"

Officials have warned that the death toll from the fires is likely to continue to rise.

'I LOST EVERYTHING'

Andrew Phelps, Oregon's emergency management director, said the state was bracing for a "mass fatality incident".

Construction worker Matt Manson, 43, said he had been left with only a backpack and a change of clothes after the fires reached his neighbourhood in the town of Phoenix.

"The fire melted the motor right out of my truck," he said.

"It drained down the driveway.

"I lost everything. I lost all my tools. My truck. I can't work. I lost $30,000 worth of guitars. All gone."

"It looks like a war just happened here."

President Trump has claimed the fires are the result of poor "forest management", but scientists have said they have been caused by record-breaking temperatures brought on by climate change.

Speaking to the LA Times, Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at California's Breakthrough Institute, said: “What we’ve been seeing in California are some of the clearest events where we can say this is climate change — that climate change has clearly made this worse.

“People who have lived in California for 30, 40 years are saying this is unprecedented.

"It has never been this hot… in all the years I’ve lived here.”

Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, added that "this long freight train" has been "barreling down on us for decades, and now the locomotive is on top of us".

Speaking to ABC yesterday, Washington governor Jay Inslee said: "It is maddening right now that when we have this cosmic challenge to our communities, with the entire West Coast of the United States on fire, to have a president to deny that these are not just wildfires, these are climate fires."








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