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Alaskan 'Firenado' Forms As Part Of Huge Tetlin Junction Fire (VIDEO)

08/20/2013 04:50 pm ET

What's scarier than a sharknado? A firenado -- because it actually exists.

More accurately known as a "fire whirl" or sometimes a "fire tornado," footage of a particularly violent one in Alaska has caught the Internet's attention.

According to the video's uploader, Douglas Burts, the footage is of Alaska's Tetlin Junction Fire. The clip, captured on Aug. 16, was filmed from a plane window, around 1,900 feet above the blaze. A report filed the next day noted the fire's 5,000-acre plume had "tornado strength" winds and several fire whirls.

The fire is believed to have been started on June 25 by a lightning strike. As of Aug. 19, the Tetlin Junction Ridge Fire had grown to 76,548 acres in size and was 50 percent contained.

National Geographic reports fire tornados are a rarely documented phenomenon, though they are believed to occur somewhat frequently.

Watch the Alaskan 'firenado' in the video above -- skip to 1:34 to see it -- and learn how fire tornadoes occur by watching the clip below.

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