OTTAWA,. Firefighters trying to put out a record number of wildfires in westernmost Canada recently found themselves in an unexpected tug-o-war with a fire devil for control of their hose.
In a terrifying moment, the vortex made up of smoke and ash sucked the hose into an orange-red cloud along a dirt road near Vanderhoof, British Columbia, and melted the nozzle.
A member of the crew battling the blaze, M.C. Schidlowsky posted a video of the skirmish on Instagram, showing three fellow firefighters struggling to hold on to one end as the other disappears into the darkened sky.
One of them rushes out of their fire truck and gets pulled toward the funnel cloud but loses his grip on the hose, and turns back.
“Fire tornado destroyed our lines,” Schidlowsky said in a caption.
“It threw burning logs across our guard for 45 minutes and pulled our hose 30m in the air before melting it. That’s definitely a first.”
Eventually the firenado grew to over 200 feet tall, she added, but the smoke was too thick to see it clearly in the video.
A record 1.3 million hectares of forests in British Columbia were blacked by 2,066 wildfires in recent months, fueled by hot and dry weather.
Currently, 333 wildfires are still burning, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service, including 10 that have been burning since June.
Last month, the regional government declared a province-wide state of emergency as Canada’s military and crews from Australia, Mexico and New Zealand joined firefighters in trying to douse the blazes. It has since been lifted.
Meanwhile, cities from Vancouver on the Pacific coast to Winnipeg in the Prairies region about 2,300km to the east were blanketed over the summer with smoke from the fires, triggering air quality warnings. — AFP