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Did you see the fire rainbow over Salt Lake Valley?

Published June 4, 2014 3:20 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

First of all, you might be wondering what a fire rainbow is, aside from a concept you might find in a fantasy novel. Fire rainbows are real, and they're radical. Check out this one, photo snapped by Derrick Blake, a graphic designer in Salt Lake City:

A fire rainbow is a rare cloud phenomenon that only happens during the summer, when the sun is very high in the sky, said Monica Traphagan, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City. The sunlight goes through the ice crystals in the cirrus clouds and creates what looks to us like a rainbow, Traphagan said.

Normally, you would see the rainbow form a halo — but because the cirrus clouds were sparse over the valley, and the sun needs them as a sort of "canvas," the rainbow effect only showed up in a patch.