With Fires Burning Across US, ‘Fire Clouds’ Are Spewing Ash And Ember On States Like Oregon

Credit: Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP

From NY…

Giant “fire clouds” — dangerous columns of smoke and ash that can reach up to 6 miles in the sky and are visible from more than 100 miles away — are the latest frightening feature of the wildfires scorching millions of acres in Western states.

On Thursday and Friday, crews fighting the Bootleg fire in Oregon, the largest wildfire burning in the US, had to flee the lines as fire clouds started to collapse, sending strong downdrafts and flying embers to the ground.

These clouds are part of the “extreme fire behavior,” that forecasters say is becoming more common this fire season. There are 70 major fires burning across 12 states right now amid an historic drought.

Fire clouds, or “pyrocumulus clouds” in Latin, look like giant, gray thunderclouds hovering on top of smoke columns. Often, the top of the smoke column flattens out to take the shape of an anvil, The Associated Press reported. But unlike regular clouds, they hold ash and particles from the fire, not just water.

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