The “exceptionally rare” fire tornado that stunned scientists last month also trapped and killed a firefighter, according to a report from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The mammoth tornado, which formed at the peak of the Carr Fire on July 26, was the most intense in state history, with a base the size of three football fields and winds as high as 165 miles per hour. It killed Fire Inspector Jeremiah “Jeremy” Stoke, 37, in seconds. Stoke was evacuating people in the northwest Redding area when he sent out a “mayday” call. Then, his transmission went dead. Stoke is the sixth firefighter to be killed on the job in California this year, in the deadliest season since 2008. The 2,700-degree tornado stripped roofs from homes and propelled cars and power line towers into the air. The phenomenon has baffled Cal Fire investigators. “Observations from witnesses and other evidence suggest that either several fire tornadoes occurred at different locations and times, or one fire tornado formed and then periodically weakened and strengthened causing several separate damage areas,” the report said.
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