Bootleg Wildfire Pyrocumulus Cloud

August 24, 2021


RLarson_pyro_0 (004)

Photographer: Ron Larson [[email protected]]

Summary Authors: Ron Larson; Jim Foster

The photo above shows an extensive pyrocumulus cloud taken above the Bootleg Wildfire in south-central Oregon, on the afternoon of July 16, 2021. Apparently, a similar cloud would build each afternoon and dissipate by early evening. At the time the photo was snapped, this fire was just 7% contained, having consumed some 250,000 acres  (101,171 hectares) and with a perimeter stretching approximately 200 miles (320 km) in length. Over 2,000 fire fighters were called in to help battle the Bootleg Fire. Pyrocumulus clouds may form if a fire becomes so energetic that it’s essentially creating its own weather. Intense heat above the fire initiates an updraft that generates convective cells, eventually leading to the formation of these cumulus type clouds.

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