Ask Joe: Who Comes Up With Names for Wildfires ?

Reported by: Joe Hart
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Updated: 7/12/2013 6:45 pm
Question:
From the Ask Joe File a question about something we're seeing a lot of lately and that is fires.
Presley Driskill wrote in saying she's always been curious where they get the names for a fire.   Is it from a mountain or something else she wants to know ?

Answer:
I checked with Elaine Briggs down at the fire command for the Bison Fire in Douglas County.  Briggs says they typically look for the nearest geographical marker, whether it's a mountain, lake or some other easy reference point.  In the case of the Bison Fire the nearest landmark was Buffalo Canyon, but they already had a fire they named the Buffalo Fire a little while back so to avoid confusion they called this one the Bison Fire.
  Briggs says it is important to come up with a name early on so they can start entering all of the information about firefighting resources into their computer system and keep track of it all under a given name.
Of course some of the names garner a little more attention than others.  A lot of people will remember the Jackass Fire a few years ago. That fire burned thousands of acres south of Reno, and was named after a nearby meadow. They did not make that name up!

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