The bonfire at Scheveningen, a district in The Hague, is part of an annual New Year’s Eve competition with the neighboring community of Duindorp, the BBC said.
This year, the bonfire made of old wooden pallets reached nearly 160 feet before it raged out of control and led to the firenadoes, also known as fire whirls.
No one was injured but several buildings were damaged as sparks and ash rained down.
Riot police were brought in to deal with all the bystanders crowding the scene and making it difficult for firefighters to work, NLTimes reported.
The fire was brought under control by about 5 a.m.
Mayor Pauline Krikke of The Hague told Euronews there would be an investigation, and said the event may not continue in the future.
Despite the nickname, and the ominous whirling appearance, a firenado isn’t actually a tornado.
“They’re created by hot, dry air rising rapidly from the ground,” Live Science notes. “In that sense, firenadoes have more in common with whirlwinds or ‘dust devils,’ which typically form on hot, sunny days when the ground heats up the air nearby.”