Controlled fire spins out of control after dust devil sweeps over it

CNN
Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 9:59am

Firefighters in Colorado were forced to run for cover when a controlled fire spun out of control after a dust devil swept over the fire.

The result was a towering whirlwind of flame and smoke that chased firefighters out of the area.

One of them was able to catch the amazing sight on camera.

"I've never seen one this close," said firefighter, Thomas Rogers.

In all the years Thomas Rogers has been fighting fires, he's never seen anything quite like this.

"There's nothing you can do except get out of the way and wait for it to calm down," said Rogers.

What started completely in their control ended up serving as a reminder that fires can be incredibly unpredictable.

"Fire can change at any time. Even on a prescribed burn where we're in very controlled conditions, the unexpected can happen," said Rogers.

In this case, a massive dust devil interrupted the planned fire. The crews were prepared for that. What they were not prepared for was their own fire getting draw into the dust devil creating a moving fire headed in their direction.

The dust devil actually came so close that Rogers and his team had to run for it.

"You can see the fire's coming down the road at us," said Rogers.

Rogers wants to remind others about how dangerous even controlled burns can be. Saying these things can happen any time of the year and no just during fire season.

"Any time there's heating unstable atmosphere, high winds, the fire dangers very high with wind probably being the biggest component," said Rogers.

The fiery dust devil ended up burning an extra acre on its own. Rogers is still blown away by what mother nature is capable of.

"It was definitely interesting to see. I'm a fire buff as well as a weather buff and here I had a weather event and a fire event coming together and it was really amazing to watch and I'm just glad I was able to capture it on video," said Rogers. 

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