CENTRAL TEXAS (KXAN) — Currently, state and local crews are battling fires across Texas, including the Margarita Fire, the Prairie Dog Fire, the Snake Draw Fire and the Chalk Mountain Fire. But how are these fires named?
“Unlike when a hurricane forms, there are no list of names for wildfires,” said Erin O’Connor, a Texas A&M Forest Service spokesperson, in an email to KXAN.
Instead, the first responders who arrive on scene typically name the fire, usually after geographic locations or nearby landmarks. For example, Somervell County’s Chalk Mountain Fire is named after a local landmark.
“When fire departments, incident commanders or dispatch centers name a wildfire, thought on relevance and appropriateness is top priority,” O’Connor said.
When there are a substantial number of fires happening concurrently, crews will often create a list based on a specific topic and name fires using that list to help ease and streamline the process.
In regions of the state where wildfires are commonplace, most aren’t given a specific name until they surpass a particular threshold. In East Texas, fires aren’t named until they are timber fueled and more than 100 acres or grass fueled and more than 300 acres.
Instead, fires below these acreages are named after the county where the fire originated along with an autogenerated number. For example, a seven-acre fire that recently burned in Cass County was named Cass 2852 Fire.