A screenshot from a video shared by Twitter user Tasha Joy shows the "firenado" that was spotted on the border of Nevada and California.
  • A wildfire that erupted in Northern California on Friday led to a tornado of fire — or "firenado" — on Saturday.
  • "Firenados"can form when hot, dry air forms columns and sucks in embers and debris.
  • The phenomenon led the National Weather Service to issue on Saturday what is believed to be its first official fire tornado warning.
  • Some social media users shared images and videos of the jarring plume of smoke. 
  • For more stories visit Business Insider South Africa.

A rare fire tornado — or "firenado"— occurred in a part of Northern California on Saturday.

The extreme weather event was triggered by wildfires that started on Friday in Loyalton, California, near the state's border with Nevada.

A "firenado" is a weather phenomenon that forms when columns of hot, dry air pick up embers. However, unlike regular tornadoes, they form on the ground rather than in the air.

The Reno National Weather Service tweeted a warning about the conditions on Saturday in what is believed to be the National Weather Service's first-ever official fire tornado warning, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Heed all orders by emergency managers and responding personnel. Stay away from the fire area!" the Reno NWS wrote.

Locals who were near the Nevada 'firenado' documented the extreme weather on social media

One Twitter user shared photos of the fire tornado from a distance of fewer than 20 miles.

Another user posted a video that shows a large, spinning column of spoke opening up to the sky.

Other users shared reactions to the monstrous-looking weather event, saying that it's just one of many shocking events to occur this year so far.

"Who had Firenado on their 2020 bingo card?" one Twitter user joked.

Another Twitter user commented: "Apparently 2020 didn't think our earthquakes, pandemic, & regular brush fires were enough."

While the "firenado" is far from a common occurrence, it has happened before. In 2018, another Northern California wildfire also led to the tornado-like event.

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