The intense fire in this video was started by lighting. Wow.
The video was taken taken by Tim Whitesell, Air Tactical Supervisor, and compiled by pilot Doug Burts, Alaska Division of Forestry.
This wildland fire footage was captured on August 16, 2013, on the southeast perimeter of the Tetlin Junction Ridge Fire (#414), burning east of Tok and Tetlin junctions, north of the Alaska Highway.
Fire behavior increased into the later part of the afternoon on August 16. At approximately 7:00 p.m., the Alaska Division of Forestry Aerial Supervision Module (consisting of Tim Whitesell and Doug Burts) reported the fire vortex to be about 3/4 of a mile wide; it lasted for about an hour. The extreme fire behavior uprooted trees, a scene that was captured by this footage- look for trees being blown around in the smoke column at the end of the clip.
Many long-term firefighters have witnessed rotating fire columns and are familiar with extreme fire behavior. As Tim Whitesell wrote, “a picture probably is worth a thousand words, but there are indeed times when a picture just doesn’t do it [the trees being uprooted and blown around] justice. I’ve never seen anything like it until now.”