Watch: Massive Carr Fire Tornado Caught on Video

California's raging and deadly Carr fire has burned more than 200,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,000 homes since it started on July 23. As of Thursday morning, the fire was 71 percent contained and nearly 4,000 people were working to reach full containment.

The fire has been relentless, spreading rapidly and destroying anything in its path. In late July a fire tornado formed from the blaze and became a large column of flames.

Video released by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, shows the fire tornado ripping through Redding, California. The video was captured on July 26, just a few days after the fire started, and resulted in the death of one of the firefighters working to fight the aggressive flames, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The tornado was about 1,000 feet wide where it touched the ground and it was burning up to 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Chronicle.

A fire tornado is a somewhat controversial title for those who study weather patterns. But the visual similarities between the fire tornado that happened in Redding and a regular tornado are clear, which may be why the name caught on so quickly.

Fire tornados are sometimes also called fire whirls because they tend to be smaller than actual tornadoes, but the one that formed in Redding was about the size of a tornado and reached wind speeds similar to one as well. Gusts in the Carr fire tornado reached between 136 and 165 miles per hour, the Chronicle reported. The video, taken from a helicopter near the fire's edge, shows the fire tornado clearly forming a very large funnel that whirls in the direction of the sky.

The fire tornadoes form when the heat from a fire warms the air near the ground. Once that air is heated it rapidly rises in the direction of the sky and then the air whirls and causes a funnel to form around an axis near the ground, according How Stuff Works.

It was strong enough to damage trees, rip roofs off of buildings it didn't completely burn and toss cars, according to the Chronicle. The Carr fire started after a vehicle's wheel burst and the metal of the wheel scraped the ground and sparked, CNN reported.

carr fire
Forest burns in the Carr Fire on July 30, west of Redding, California. Terray Sylvester/Getty Images