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Morning Brief: 'Firenadoes,' Vaccination Deadlines, And Tailgating At The Drive-In

A firenado is shown, in which a funnel of fire and smoke creates a whirl like a tornado at the center of a wildfire blaze. A fire truck is in the foreground with the firenado on the side, and the sky full of ash and smoke.
A funnel of fire and smoke create a whirl like a tornado in the Central California French Fire August 25, 2021.
(David McNew
Getty Images)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s August 31.

When it comes to wildfires, we already have plenty to worry about in California. Devastating blazes are becoming more common, and 2021 is on track to be the worst year yet.

If that wasn’t enough, my colleague Julia Paskin reports on a specific phenomenon that can occur during particularly windy fires: the fire whirl, or fire tornado, or “firenado.”

"Firenadoes" are on our radar because one hit Riverside County over the weekend, caused by the Chaparral Fire. In pictures and videos, a twisting, narrow funnel of dark smoke and ash can be seen winding skywise from the center of the flames.

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Caused by strong winds pushing warm air upwards and creating a whirling vortex shape, "firenadoes" happen during extreme fire conditions, and are the size and shape of regular tornadoes.

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“They can be very destructive as they impact any structures,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Adam Roser.

"Firenadoes" are relatively rare, although it’s not clear whether their recent appearances have anything to do with climate change or changing weather. Another fire tornado was spotted in Kern County last week, caused by the French Fire.

As of Monday evening, the Chapparal Fire had burned nearly 1,500 acres in San Diego and Riverside counties and was 13% contained. Evacuations have been ordered in some areas.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go ... This Week's Outdoor Pick: Tailgating At The Drive-In

Cars at the drive-in.
(Photo by Paul Gronner)

The Rooftop Cinema Club has launched a new type of outdoor movie experience where visitors can tailgate next to their cars. At the “drive-up,” attendees are assigned a personal area in a living room setting, complete with headphones and lawn chairs. Jurassic Park and Queen & Slim are screening on Thursday of this week.

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Or, you could: See a new chamber opera — in a shipping container. Laugh along with Atsuko Okatsuka. Watch classics Sunset Boulevard and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Catch Future Islands live. Sample the tastes of Gullah Geechee cuisine. And more.

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