This photo provided by Katelynn & Jordan Hewlett, a funnel appears in a thick plume of smoke from the Loyalton Fire is seen in Lassen County, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020.
A warning released by a local weather station said that clouds from a wildfire was "capable of producing a fire included tornado and outflow of winds in excess of 60 miles per hour".
Firefighters aided by water-dropping helicopters and air tankers faced "extreme fire behavior", he said, and worked through the night to extinguish spot fires and protect threatened structures.
Pyrocumulonimbus clouds typically form above volcanoes or fire and they are created by insense rising heat. Fire crews have been battling the blaze for weeks, and it is 95% contained, according to InciWeb.
People on social media wondered if there is anything worse left to be witnessed in 2020.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Reno shared this timelapse video of the heavy smoke from the fire, burning near the border of Nevada and California. "It nearly looks like a bomb went off".
"Extremely unsafe fire behavior noted on the Loyalton Fire!"
It was building near a 930-hectare fire which had originated in the Tahoe National Forest and Mr Hohmann realised the two could merge.
Temperatures have surpassed 100 degrees in parts of the state, with Death Valley reaching a record breaking 130 degrees Fahrenheit over the weekend.