British Columbia

Fire tornado caught on video, snatching hose from B.C. crew

The video shows a fire tornado near Vanderhoof, B.C., sucking up and melting the hoses of the crew trying to fight it.

Crew near Vanderhoof, B.C., struggles to save equipment from wind and flames

A firefighter watches a fire tornado near Vanderhoof, B.C. (Mary Schidlowsky/Instagram)

A video posted to Instagram shows an unreal scene of a fire tornado pulling the hose of a B.C. wildfire crew high into the air. 

Three firefighters are seen struggling to control the hose as it is sucked toward the flames, while a spinning vortex of fire appears metres away.

Warning: video contains profanity

Firefighter Mary Schidlowsky shot and posted the video of the Aug. 18 fire tornado, which formed southwest of Vanderhoof, B.C., near Chutanli Lake, and was almost 60 metres high.

"Fire tornado destroyed our line. It threw burning logs across our guard for 45 minutes and pulled our hose 100 plus ft. in the air before melting it," she wrote in the post.

"That's definitely a first."

B.C. Wildfire information officer Forrest Tower said the tornado was caused by the heat rising off the wildfire in combination with extremely high winds. 

"It's like a dust devil or a fire whirl — it sucks in the debris and that's what makes it a fire tornado," he said.

"They do happen but they are very rare. It's kind of cool she was able to capture one on video."

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