An awe-struck filmmaker has told of the moment he witnessed one of nature's rarest phenomena - a fire tornado.

Chris Tangey had been out in Alice Springs, Australia, scouting locations for a new movie.

After finishing he went over to help workers at a cattle station when he was confronted by one of nature's most intimidating spectacles.

Just 300 metres away was a 30-metre high fire swirl which "sounded like a fighter jet", despite there being no wind in the area.

A fire tornado, also know as a fire devil, is caused when a column of warm, rising air comes into contact - or causes - a fire on the ground.

These fire whirls are known to last for around two minutes on the very rare occasions they take place.

But Chris found himself mesmerised by the tornado for more than 40 minutes.

The 52-year-old said: "The weather was perfectly still and it was about 25 degrees celsius - it was an entirely uneventful day. (Source)

"Then the next thing a man is yelling 'what the hell is that?' and I turned around and saw a 30-metre fire tornado.

"I was about 300 metres away and there was no wind but the tornado sounded just like a fighter jet. My jaw just dropped."

Chris, who runs Alice Springs Film and Television, in Australia, described it as a "once in ten lifetimes experience".

(Picture: SWNS)

Responses to "Setting the world on fire: Stunning picture of rare 'devil tornado' emerges"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Never heard of this before Very Scary!

  2. Father,Mother are trying to get our attention, they're not happy...

  3. Very rare and beautiful =^°°^=

  4. anne says:

    nature = full of wonders

  5. Anonymous says:

    koun fayaa koun...remember the creation of the word and the univers!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    just beautiful. i have never seen anything like this, just amazing

  7. If it is from God Almighty He must be sending a message. It is upto us how we can interpret it. He may meant to say, "Beware".

  8. Anonymous says:


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  10. sprat12 says:

    yes it is amazing

  11. Anonymous says:

    this is crazy I never seen anything like this b4. Things like this r great to see & experance

  12. Anonymous says:

    Amazing, Beautiful and Scary

  13. Anonymous says:

    This took me by surprise,Now I know Any thing is Possible in this world!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Now it is possible to see how myths,legends and stories make their way into the cultural narrative. It would be very interesting to hear the indigenous peoples stories of these "fire devils"...

  15. Anonymous says:

    To look at these photos puts me in mind of what is. Natures way. Purpose.

  16. Anonymous says:


  17. Anonymous says:

    nifty! And the explanation makes perfect sense, I've seen dust devils, and water spouts and this acts the same, a column of air that draws the dust, water or in this case grass fire, up in a swirl. VERY cool! Or hot as the case may be.

  18. Anonymous says:

    WHY, be surprised....IT, IS WRITTEN...amen

  19. HOLY ----, THAT'S GORGEOUS! I've been a tornado chaser all my life. Saw and photographed one last year in the April 3-6 breakout, Dallas/Irving TX. But FIRE? Nope..Must be hotter'n hell in Aussie-land. Wait till Global Warming hits home to the way, would be these Fire Tornadoes! And that way, I'd get to see one for myself!

  20. The people where I live---Texas, in the Southern United States---are in a class by themselves. They deny any evidence of climate change, so I wonder what they'd think of the fire tornado. We've just finished the driest September on record so it's not inconceivable, that they'll be finding out soon enough. I hope that it doesn't occur here in Grand Prairie TX. I hope that if it does, me and mine will be able to get out of the way, but that I'll also get great pictures like these, while I'm running away! Thanks for sharing.

  21. Anonymous says:

    heaven on fire, this might explaine some stuff written in the Bible.
    very scary do, but nature are so big and powerful, we better stop do what we do to the nature and the whole Earth and start to care for all animals and nature and stop all meningless killing around the globe.

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