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New study on historic Carr Fire "Firenado" could help provide advance warning for the next

The Carr Fire "Firenado" we experienced July 26th, was a historic event.

It was only the second time an event like this has ever been documented. The other, in 2003 in Australia.

We know conditions leading up to the Carr Fire were dangerous, but no one could have predicted the "Firenado". However, a new study by Neil Lareau of the University of Nevada-Reno on our Firenado, could be the first step toward creating a warning system for these events.

There was plume one, then a second plume that shot up almost 40,000 feet. It was during that time period that really organized the vortex and spun it up.

According to Professor Lareau, " We potentially can get some advance warning on this. Something we can look for in the future is evidence of these shear zones and evidence of the formation of these clouds on top of the wildfire plume...and if you have these two ingredients in place at the same time (wind shear, fire/heat), you have the potential to develop a tornado, or in this case, a fire tornado. It's a very tall order to say something could have been predicted. As a scientist, we look at events like these and try to get some takeaway message, and I think that is what we have been able to do here. Even a handful of minutes really matter in an event like this as far as moving people out of harm's way, and that is just one part of the puzzle scientifically, because issuing these warnings and how you implement these warnings is a whole other challenge as we saw with the Camp Fire. Evacuations are an extremely complex problem."

Professor Lareau feels fire weather is severe weather and we need to approach it the same as far as watches and warnings. As far as predicting and detecting, we are fortunate that Redding has good radar coverage.

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