Tag Archives: alberta

How Firestorms Form

How Firestorms Form

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Under the right conditions, wildfires can form clouds and generate firestorms, which last far longer than normal thunderstorms.

To learn more about this topic, start your googling with these keywords:
Pyrocumulonimbus cloud – a type of cumulonimbus cloud that forms that forms above wildfires and even volcanic eruptions, which can create thunderstorms
Virga – rain that evaporates before it hits the ground
Updraft – upward moving air in a thunderstorm
Downdraft – downward moving air in a thunderstorm

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Dowdy, Andrew J., Michael D. Fromm, and Nicholas McCarthy. “Pyrocumulonimbus lightning and fire ignition on Black Saturday in southeast Australia.” Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 122.14 (2017): 7342-7354.
Dowdy, Andrew J., et al. “Future changes in extreme weather and pyroconvection risk factors for Australian wildfires.” Scientific reports 9.1 (2019): 1-11.
McKeever, A. (2020, September 24). Fire clouds and fire tornadoes: How wildfires spawn extreme weather. Retrieved January 30, 2021, from
Ndalila, Mercy N., et al. “Evolution of a pyrocumulonimbus event associated with an extreme wildfire in Tasmania, Australia.” Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences 20.5 (2020): 1497-1511.
Peterson, David A., et al. “Wildfire-driven thunderstorms cause a volcano-like stratospheric injection of smoke.” NPJ climate and atmospheric science 1.1 (2018): 1-8.