The phrase “fire tornado” isn’t the most relaxing: It calls to mind apocalyptic events and mortal danger, not hypnotic fascination. But if you watch the video above, you might come away with a new appreciation for the rare phenomenon.
The Slow Mo Guys can add a dose of wonder to just about anything with the help of their super slow-mo camera, and their latest stunt is to put a new spin on a raging column of fire.
They found inspiration in a natural phenomenon called fire devils or firenadoes—columns of flame that form from a rumbling fire when the dry, hot air quickly rises, pulling more hot air and flames along with it. LiveScience’s Marc Lallanilla writes that though fire devils usually only last a few minutes, they can reach up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, spreading devastating forest fires.
Another similar phenomenon is the dust devil. These dervishes may lack the fear factor of a column of spinning flame, but they have the same dramatic spin as their fiery cousins. Dust devils act like miniature weather systems, sucking up dust with temperature differentials that continue to drive the swirling column of air, explains Scientific American’s Andrea Thompson.
This slow-mo firenado isn’t natural: As you can see in the video, it was achieved using kerosene and box fans. But the chance to see any kind of firenado—real or simulated—doesn’t come along every day. Neither does the chance to see a rare phenomenon in mesmerizing slow motion…and stay cool at the same time.