The fire falling from the sky is not only lightning, meteorites or napalm. The archives of meteorologists contain information about rare phenomena with equally destructive potential.
Panic in the countryside
“The summer sky seemed to be torn in two. A huge fire pillar appeared in the middle of the field. Shakily, he swayed, he roared with a roar and hiss in the valley, incinerating everything in his path. Trees, crushed by a fiery tornado, for a fraction of a second turned into a black outline on a bright purple background, so that in the next instant it would dissolve into dust. Even a small river could not detain a terrible phenomenon. The tornado surpassed it, leaving behind a dried-up bed. He was carried to the village, growing every second. The peasants fell to their knees, begging the heavens for mercy. And a miracle happened. Not reaching two hundred meters to the first houses, the roaring fiery whirlwind dispersed. The air was still hot sparks, ash was falling, but the danger was over. Stunned residents saw a burnt strip, cut the valley … ”
The phenomenon, colorfully described by the reporter, occurred on July 7, 1913 in Spain, near the town of Alcázar. The diameter of the fiery column, which almost fell asleep the village of Picassent, reached 100 meters, and the burnt strip left by it stretched for three kilometers.
“The panic in the countryside was terrible. All residents shouted, fire bells rang, warning of danger, frightened women and children ran to death, “the newspaper reported the next day.
Destructions and fires
Much less fortunate is the Spanish village of Lechon in the south of the province of Zaragoza. On July 5, 1945, the fire column twice touched the ground near the houses, causing destruction and fires.
“The revolving column sank to the ground with an eerie rumble, like an explosion of a gigantic bomb,” the headman of the village said. – The flame has flashed more than 30 meters. Then the column rose, hitting the outskirts. The roar was indescribable. Flame and black smoke enveloped the whole village. The roofs burned, the walls cracked. Men, women and children rushed to run, screaming in terror.
Employees of a nearby weather station observed the catastrophe, but could not explain what had happened.
In the same summer, near Almeria (a city in Andalusia), a “fiery rain” was coming from the sky, setting fire to the houses and clothes of eyewitnesses. The phenomenon was repeated several times. Scientists who came to Almeria, were convinced of its reality: the fire from the sky burned a box set in the field with meteorological instruments.
Someone suggested that underground is a uranium ore or an unknown mineral, contributing to the emergence of a flame. Speculators bought more than a thousand plots in the vicinity of Almeria, but the “land fever” ended in disappointment: there was nothing of value in the bowels.
On September 6, 1980, a fire pillar passed near the city of Torrejoncillo (province of Caceres, Spain), setting everything on its way. A local resident Benito Salgado saw rabbits trying to escape from the flames. Rabbits fell dead and charred. Then the column split in two and went around Benito’s farm from two sides.
The house did not catch fire, but the heat was such that the plastic objects melted and fell to the floor, and the glass bottles lost their shape. The barbed wire turned into droplets of molten metal. Benito was found dead, while on his body there were no burns.
Francisco Megiosa from the town of La Rinconada (province of Seville) had occasion to see the moment of the formation of the fire pillar.
“I heard a strange noise,” he told reporters. – Out on the street, I was in a black cloud, I felt bad and fell to the ground. The cap tore off my head with a gust of wind. A cloud of dust gathered in a black column, oddly enough, tilted toward a strong wind that was blowing at the time. And then the column ignited. From my house there was only a foundation, the furniture was completely burnt. The olive trees around the hut were charred.
The story of Mejias led scientists to think that the fire pillar is a tornado, in which excess electricity accumulates. Instead of throwing lightning, it concentrates the charge and envelops it in plasma. Inside the pillar, even air can burn, disintegrating into oxygen and hydrogen.
This hypothesis explains why people who are not affected by fire are killed. Metal objects in their pockets are melted, although the cloth of clothes does not burn out and there are no burns on the bodies. The monstrous magnetic field near the column induces currents in metals and melts them at such a speed that clothing does not have time to burn out.
Fire pillars people observed and many centuries ago. Ancient Greek scientists called them “preter”. Mention of them can be found in the writings of Aristotle, Pliny the Elder, Seneca and Heraclitus. Pliny the Elder gives this description: “When a tornado glows, flaming with a flame, it is called a” preter “. He lights and overturns everything that comes into contact. ”
Published in 1640, the book “A pleasant walk through the garden of contemplation of nature” reports that sometimes “a tornado, hitting the cloud, flares up and flies like a huge wheel of a cart, screaming at all and burning everything that can burn: houses, forests, bread , grass “.
The hypothesis of Spanish scientists explains the nature of not all varieties of flying fire. The torrential rains that raged on Almeria in the summer of 1945 began in sunny weather without a noticeable wind. 30 people received burns, but this time there were no fatalities. A similar fiery rain, which fell in the summer of 1910 to the south of Saskatchewan (Canada), killed 32 Cree Indians and burned the earth to a considerable depth. Survived only one Indian, who rushed to the creek and stayed under water until it was over.
Horrors of Europe
Another version of the mysterious natural phenomenon is mentioned in ancient annals called “wild (or air) fire”. It’s about the heat of a fiery cloud in the sky. The ancient author wrote that if it falls, cattle and crops will die. The touch of the cloud incinerates even what normally does not burn.
“In 823 miracles appeared,” chronicler Ademar Shabansky wrote. – In Saxony in the village of Firikhsazi, 23 villages were burnt with fire from the sky, together with people and cattle. Within 12 days, the ashes fell from the clear sky in the daytime. ” July 1, 939 “fire that came from the sea” burned a number of cities on the coast of Spain.
In the “Chronicle of Compostela” (written in the Latin language essay on the history of Spain) is a long list of burnt settlements.
In 992, a fire flying from the Rhine burned many cities and villages in Germany.
Chronicler Florence Worcester reports that in 1048 “an incomprehensible wild fire killed many people and cattle throughout England. Burning in the air, the fire burned cities and ripe wheat in the fields. ” In 1067, it all happened again. The flying fire set fire to forests and fields, appearing over the county of Northumberland for two seasons.
In Russia, the fiery clouds were also well known. In the “Solikamsk chronicler” twice mentioned about their appearance over the city. On August 17, 1698, “a fiery cloud from which ashes fell with sparks” Solikamsk passed safely.
In 1705, a burning cloud, without touching the city, burned out the surrounding areas: “A few days later peasants came from Obvy and Yinva, telling that a fiery cloud had burnt not only their houses and forests, but even grasses, livestock and animals in the forest.”
On August 13, 1874, at about 11 pm, a “luminous electric cloud” appeared over the American town of Pascagoula and flew over the edge, exuding a violent heat. The townspeople were terrified that their homes would burst out and they themselves would also be burned. Nevertheless, a monstrous “cloud” half a mile long peacefully disappeared. The power of his glow was such that the ship clearly anchored far into the sea became clearly visible.
The last appearance of the “wild fire” was low over the earth on June 15, 1960, over Lake Whitney in Texas. The wave of heat generated by him blew up radiators from cars and caused the fire alarm in the town of Copperl to work. All the fields in the district turned black, the plants turned into ashes.
Fire in the Atmosphere
“Wild fire” – a phenomenon even more rare than the fire pillars, and therefore less studied. According to indirect evidence, this is a real flame, not a plasma clot: the appearance of a “wild fire” is not accompanied by electromagnetic effects. Unlike the recently recognized by the science of “sprites” – high-altitude electric discharges, the lifetime of the flame and the vortices generated by it are calculated in minutes.
“Wild Fire” lights up in the sky after a lightning bolt. Lightning acts as a match, igniting some gas and provoking an unknown chemical reaction. The cloud extinguishes itself when the stock of catalyst gas ends.