Canadian Firenado Steals Firefighters’ Hose, Hits Them With Burning Logs

It is becoming increasingly clear the planet is trying to tell us it is sick of our crap and it is done playing. The latest example? A firenado sucking a team of firefighters’ hose into the sky.


The surreal footage comes from British Columbia, which you may remember saw day turn into the night due to wildfire smoke the last time we checked in. While we’ve recently a bit preoccupied with Florence’s record-setting rain and the strongest storm on Earth playing Jenga with Hong Kong’s skyscrapers, British Columbia has quietly continued to burn. As of Monday, 3.3 million acres of the province had burned, nearly 10 times higher than the annual average over the past 10 years. This has been British Columbia’s worst wildfire season on record, besting a mark set just last year. Thank you, climate change.

While cooler weather has helped tamp down flames, there are still 11 fires of note and dozens of other blazes the provincial fire service is battling. And one of those fires appears to have whipped up a firenado, the most on-brand weather disaster of 2018.

Video captured by firefighter M. C. Schidlowsky shows the firenado sucking up 100 feet of hose, the white hose line disappearing into billowing smoke. Schidlowsky said in a caption on the original video that the hose melted as the firenado raged for 45 minutes. It’s unclear which of the 11 fires this is from, but there are a few burning in the vicinity of the Vanderhoof, which is where the original video is tagged.

This isn’t the first firenado of 2018. That distinction belongs to a whirling frenzy of flames and wind whipped up by California’s Carr Fire that killed at least one firefighter. Scientists are studying it intensely to understand what led to such a large, powerful firenado to form.

The British Columbia firenado doesn’t appear to anywhere near as large as the Carr Fire’s version, but it sure screwed over the crew out there fighting it. In addition to sucking up a crucial tool, the vortex also apparently threw burning logs back as a final eff you to the firefighters who Schidlowsky said worked 7 days straight for 16 hours a day.

Managing editor at Earther, writing about climate change, environmental justice, and, occasionally, my cat.


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