Lillooet fire tornado caught on camera by BC Wildfire Service

By Charlie Carey and David Nadalini
City News Vancouver
August 23, 2023
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BC Wildfire Service says its crews captured a fire tornado on video this past week near the Downton Lake wildfire, west of Lillooet. In the video, a swirling vortex can be seen twisting above a lake as the mainland burns behind it. The service says it happened at Gun Lake on Aug. 17. The phenomenon, also called a “fire whirl,” is described as “vertically oriented, intensely rotating columns of gas and flame.” It was said to be caused by a cold front that combined with the intense wildfire heat from the Downton Lake blaze. “This was a significant drop, 20C lower than the day prior to the cold front. With this combination of conditions and fire behaviour, fire intensity was more extreme during this overnight period, reaching intensities that hadn’t been seen even during the day,” the service said. The BC Wildfire Service adds tornados like this are incredibly rare and unusual.

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