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What that Huge White Cloud Over the Fire is Called

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Some have e-mailed LAist asking about the huge white cloud over the fire. "Why is the smoke cloud white during the day?" one reader asked.

It is a pyrocumulous cloud, or fire cloud, "that is created from very intense heat at the surface, usually from wildfires," explained Gary Robbins, resident Sciencedude at the Orange County Register. "The lower part of the cloud is gray, and the upper reaches are white — a normal shading, says the National Weather Service. The clouds are about 15,000-feet high."

The Weather Notebook, a nationally syndicated radio show, describes a lot of what we've been hearing about, such as the fire creating its own wind patterns, and a new concern brought up today--lightning: