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How Fire Tornadoes Work

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Author's Note: How Fire Tornadoes Work

A few months ago, an intense, but short-lived, storm raged through central and northern Virginia, knocking down trees and leaving a good deal of the state without power. When we woke in the morning, meteorologists described the storm as a derecho, a kind of thunderstorm during which winds blow in straight lines. It was both a new term and a new concept for me, proving once again that science has the power to surprise. I felt the same way about fire tornadoes. I mean, who knew?

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