Janea Copelin, a woman in Missouri, captured a terrifying and amazing photo of a whirling tower of fire in her home town of Chillicothe.
The fearsome “firenado” is actually called a fire whirl, and it’s more common than some of you may think. When there’s a large source of heat on the ground (like a bonfire or when a farmer’s controlled burn), it can create swirling eddies of hot air up above it. If the weather is just right, these eddies can tighten into a vortex with the help of surrounding winds. This vortex can then suck oxygen and flammable gases released by burning plants into its core, igniting it and giving it its tall and fiery appearance.