SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A fire whirl spawned by the Carr Fire carried wind speeds equivalent to an EF-3 tornado, the National Weather Service said on Thursday.

The rotating column of fire was spotted on July 26 as the fire near Redding took on a life of its own.

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Wind speeds generated by the column were around 143 mph, the equivalent of an EF-3 tornado on the enhanced Fujita scale.

Tornadoes are rare in the Sacramento Valley, but crop up sometimes, especially during the turbulent spring months. Those tornadoes seldom rate higher than an EF-0.

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An EF-3 tornado is capable of destroying parts of homes, lifting cars off the ground and stripping the bark off of trees.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Carr Fire has burned more than 125,000 acres and is 35 percent contained. Six people, including two firefighters, have died in the past week.