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Incredible footage shows firefighters fleeing a fire tornado

As the old saying goes, “if you can’t stand the heat, get the hell out of the path of that enormous fire tornado and peg it towards the river.”

An old saying that firefighters in St Albert, Alberta, Canada, fortunately called to mind as they escaped the fiery wrath of an out-of-control blaze.

This incredible video, released by the St Albert Fire Department, shows the moment four firefighters were forced to flee into the relative safety of the Sturgeon River to escape a terrifying and rare natural phenomenon.

What started as an unremarkable campfire took a turn for the terrifying when a combination of high winds and heat span the flames into a hundreds-of-feet-high vortex, incinerating everything in its path.

Miraculously, the firefighters managed to escape unharmed, though 20 acres were burned to a crisp.

“We're sitting, waiting for the conditions to change, and a windstorm started up from behind,” firefighter Vincent Pashko told CBC. “The little bit of brush that was behind us lit on fire and... created a windmill, almost like a tornado.”

Fortunately for Pashko and his colleagues, they were close enough to a part of the river known as Big Lake to take cover.

“I turned around and saw the big storm of ash coming towards me,” Pashko said. “I could feel the heat coming up over my head, and I ran to Big Lake and dropped into the water to cool myself off.”

It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “too hot to handle.”