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California’s Creek Fire, which has torched almost 300,000 acres and become California’s largest wildfire on record, was still only a third contained as of Wednesday. Like other blazes this year, it grew rapidly during periods of hot and dry weather with strong winds, burning tens of thousands of acres in a single night.

Now we know that the fire featured a rare phenomenon that demonstrates just how extreme it was, with the National Weather Service’s announcement Wednesday afternoon that two fire tornadoes were associated with the blaze.

The two vortices, one rated an EF2 while the other was an EF1, were produced by the fire, as the extreme heat from the blaze and towering smoke plume above it essentially created its own weather.

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