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'Never seen anything like it': The Australia bush fires are generating vast areas of violent weather

'Never seen anything like it': The Australia bush fires are generating vast areas of violent weather | 06 Jan 2020 | Among the many apocalyptic scenes from the Australian bush fires has been the presence of explosive, towering clouds appearing in the skies above the fire zones of southeastern Australia. These clouds, the most fearsome of which is known as pyrocumulonimbus, or pyroCb for short, are fire-generated thunderstorms. Their presence is an indication that a fire is exhibiting extreme behavior, such as spreading quickly beyond containment lines, switching its direction of movement, and even whipping up fire whirls and full-fledged fire tornadoes. Passengers aboard a Qantas Airlines flight to Canberra learned about the extraordinary forces involved in these clouds over the weekend, when their aircraft accidentally flew through one at high altitude. According to an ABC News account of the flight, the sky outside the aircraft's windows turned bright orange, then pitch black as jarring updrafts shook the plane.