On July 26th, the Carr Fire, CA claimed the life of 37-year old fire inspector Jeremy Stoke. A recently released official report describes the intensity of the firenado responsible, and how quickly it took his life as he tried to evacuate residents on July 26. In the history of California wildfires there has never been anything like it: A churning tornado filled with fire, the size of three football fields.
The smoke-and-fire firenado was about 1,000-feet wide at its base and shot approximately seven and a half miles into the sky, according to the report by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It reached speeds of up to 165mph, with temperatures that likely exceeded 2,700F.
The report reads: “A large fire tornado was one of the primary causes of the entrapment and death of FPI1 on July 26, 2018. The fire tornado was a large rotating fire plume that was roughly 1000 feet in diameter at its base. Winds at the base of the fire tornado reached speeds in the range of 136-165 mph (EF-3 tornado strength), as indicated by wind damage to large oak trees, scouring of the ground surface, damage to roofs of houses, and lofting of large steel power line support towers, vehicles, and a steel marine shipping container within 1⁄2 mile of the entrapment site. The strong winds caused the fire to burn all live vegetation less than 1 inch in diameter and fully consume any dead biomass. Peak gas temperatures likely exceeded 2,700 °F.”