Ever wonder how wildfires are named? Here's how officials make the decision.

Idaho wildfires
Posted at 5:37 PM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-05 19:37:56-04

BOISE, Idaho — Wildfires across the country are given unique names almost as soon as fire crews dispatch to the scene. Although the names may often seem random, it's almost always based on the location where the fire started.

Unlike natural disasters like hurricanes, which are identified through a pre-determined list of names each season, wildfires are named on the fly by dispatchers.

The Talon Fire, which was sparked on the 4th of July by recreational shooters, started near Talon Lane. The Goose Fire, which burned more than 400 acres near the Eagle Bike Park last October, started near Goose Creek Road.

Possibly the most notable Boise-area wildfire in recent history was the Table Rock Fire started by illegal fireworks in 2016 which torched thousands of acres near the landmark, trail, and road with the same name.

"If there's any mountain or any identifiable geographic range, then we'll generally name the fires after those," BLM Boise Fire Mitigation Specialist Jared Jablonski said. "So a mountain, a creek, or a street name."

Jablonski says naming wildfires is critical for communication. The shorter, the better. This helps agencies communicate with each other quickly over radio dispatch and reduces confusion when working on multiple fires at a time.