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WATCH: Firenado forms in Mo. wildfire

Posted at 10:03 AM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 12:03:54-05

Winds fueling a wildfire north of Kansas City, Missouri created a brief "firenado."

These flames stretched across more than 1,000 acres. Firefighters have them under control.

Firenadoes happen when ground-level winds come in contact with fire and whip it into the air, creating a shocking spiral of bright red and orange. They’re an amazing sight but dangerous for firefighters, as the tunnels suck in burning debris and can spit embers miles away, enlarging a wildfire’s path of destruction.

Most firenadoes usually last only a couple minutes.

The phenomenon can happen with smoke, too, when spiraling wind creates a smokenado.

The Missouri firefighters said the windy conditions on Wednesday made the response challenging.

"We tried multiple times to do some fire stops and work the fire lines," said firefighter Brian Richardson. "As soon as it would go down, it would jump up behind you."

The wind blew around smoke and debris, which presented even more challenges.

"With the wind, the way it was blowing, it was really tough to breathe at times," Richardson said.

A couple of years ago, Colorado made national headlines when a firenado formed during a prescribed burn at Rocky Mountain Arsenal. It lasted 10 minutes.