An Arizona couple driving near the state border of Blythe, California on Saturday came across a brush fire near the Colorado River. As they sat and watched, the blaze turned into a “firenado,” or a fire tornado, before it spun across the water and formed into a waterspout.
The unbelievable footage shows flames from a wildfire first twirling on land and sending up a massive column of smoke before shifting to the water. Boaters and people on jet skis can be seen driving through the rushing water as the brush fire continued to build nearby.
“The branches from the thing, it’s pulling them up into the air!” a man’s voice exclaimed as the waterspout formed in the video. “We may have to go.”
A firenado is a natural phenomenon that happens when hot air at the base of a fire rises through a pocket of air that’s cooler, and then creates a swirling vortex. As the column spins, it picks up embers and debris, becoming a blazing tower of fire that can be hundreds of feet tall.
On the day of the Blythe firenado, the temperature outside hit 110 degrees in Blythe with winds hitting 20 miles per hour. Moving quickly, they can reach temperatures of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, and can cause severe damage despite only lasting a few minutes.