Houses Burning and Fire Whirls

Thirty plus years ago my parents built a house, the one where they currently reside, and moved from the little house that was originally on The Farm. I lived in what was dubbed The Old House for the first few years of my existence. Sadly enough, the only photo I have in my possession of The Old House is the one above. (Yes, I am the one on the pony. If I remember correctly we called it Blue and that is most likely my sister-in-law hiding behind the pony. I would know more detail but I was 3 at the time.) You can see the front of the house in the photo. Note the steps out front.

About a year ago, my nephew, who now owns The Farm, started tearing down The Old House. It had passed derelict status a long time ago and progressed to a hazard. In the fall, the house went from standing upright to having the walls caved in and the roof on the ground. At the far right of the photo you can see the front steps.

Saturday night, because all the family was gathered and we didn’t have anything better to do, Matt decided to burn the house. It was quite a finale to the evening, I must say.

After pouring a little fuel on the dry wood, Matt lit the fire and we all stood around watching and waiting.

It didn’t take long for the fire to start spreading.

The flames were really hopping on this side of the house.

In no time at all, the entire structure was on fire. A few of us watched completely intrigued by the fire whirls. It was at this point my young niece Katie decided we needed to find some marshmallows to roast. We finally convinced her they would be melted before they ever got toasted. Not to mention none of us wanted to get any closer to the fire.

Here you can really see one shooting up in the midst of the fire. The fire whirls are basically ascending currents of air, like a dust devil except with fire. We think the combination of extreme heat (because believe me it was really, really hot) and the fire burning together from two opposing corners caused the velocity to start the whirls. As they burned up and out, little dust devils swirled around the surrounding area. Sorry, it was too dark to get photos of the swirling dust and to be quiet honest, the swirling flames were much more interesting!

You can see here the big plumes of black smoke are gone and the flames are burning really hot as it gets down to embers. This was about the time one of the neighbors came over to see if we were trying to burn down the world or just a small portion of it.

And here are the blazing hot embers at the end of the fire. I should have gone back the next morning to take photos of the ashes, but it just seemed better to stop here.

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