This blazing whirlwind of tumbleweeds is the result of a prescribed burn blown out-of-control fueled by high wind. But it looks like the dramatic entrance of some kinda movie-villain devil, encircled by hellfire and... flying Frosted Mini Wheats?
This clip was shot over the Spring by wildland firefighter Thomas Rogers, and it's something spectacular to behold.
Looks a bit like the fire-tornadoes we saw in California, but dustier. As Rogers put it; "a dust devil formed and drew the prescribed fire into it. It crossed the line and burned about 1 additional acre." When you're torching a total of 150 acres, as was the prescribed burn plan at this scene at Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver, Colorado, another acre doesn't seem like that tough of a loss... but from where the camera's placed, it looks pretty damn scary.
"Dust devils" are basically miniature tornadoes; strong pockets of spinning wind formed by hot air near the ground moving up through cooler air above. So the conditions can be perfect for them in wildland fires.
If there's enough hot air, it can get streched out into a column, building more momentum and eventually sucking in cool air around it. Since cool air is denser than hot, it stokes the fire even more and can become a vicious cycle of conflagration.
The USFWS, USFS, South Metro Fire, West Metro Fire, Denver Fire, and Fairmount Fire agencies were all participating in the prescribed burn, and were eventually able to contain this wind-accelerated spillover.
Here's another angle, with a face-rocking soundtrack: