What is a firenado? And how does it form?

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Credit: KTLA (5/15/2014 near San Marcos)

Credit: KTLA (5/15/2014 near San Marcos)

Wildfires in Carlsbad, San Marcos and other parts of California have spawned several firenadoes – but what is a firenado? And how does it form?

A firenado is a dangerous column of fire that sucks in debris and spews out hot embers.

According to AccuWeather, firenadoes happen when ground-level winds come in contact with fire and whip it into the air, creating a shocking spiral of bright red and orange.

Firenadoes can enlarge a wildfire’s path of destruction as it spews out debris and embers.

Most firenadoes are up to ten stories high and ten feet wide. Usually, they only last a couple of minutes before they dissipate.