A “fire whirl” or “firenado” loomed over an acacia plantation near Mooi River, a small town in eastern South Africa, on Thursday, September 10.
Footage captured by Alicia Joubert Culverwell shows the smoky funnel cloud as it swirled above the fire before starting to dissipate.
Speaking to Storyful, Culverwell said the blaze under the column was in an acacia or “scrub wattle” plantation inhabited by “subsistence farmers.”
Culverwell said, “It never caused major damage because a timber company sent water trucks to put the fire out.”
Simon Thomas of the Kwazulu Natal Fire Protection Service told Storyful that “fires can create their own weather,” including funnel clouds.
According to skybrary.aero, fire whirls form when “intense rising heat and turbulent wind conditions combine to form whirling eddies of air. These eddies can contract a tornado-like vortex that sucks in debris and combustible gases.” Credit: Alicia Joubert Culverwell via Storyful