CALIFORNIA, (KTXL) — In 2021, California had over 8,000 wildfires across the state, each with a different name.
So what goes into naming wildfires to make sure that units and resources are sent to the right place?
The answer is somewhat simple and straightforward, when a unit responds to the scene they look for the clearest geographical locator that will make it easy to locate the initial point of the fire, according to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jon Heggie.
Heggie said that roadways, campsites, waterways, mountains and other notable geographical icons can be used.
When a fire broke out along Camp Creek Road in 2021 fire crews named it the Camp Fire that ended up devastating the town of Paradise.
With so many wildfires occurring within the course of a year, several fires can collect together and become what is known as a complex fire.
These larger fires have a similar naming process to that of single fires.
In 2020, when the Warnella Fire, Waddell Fire and three other fires grew and came in close contact with each other in Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties, the resulting complex fire was named the CZU Lightning Complex Fire after the CAL FIRE unit that monitors the area and the cause of the fire.
Using the unit name serves as a locator as the fire was burning throughout both Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties.
Lighting strikes across the state started hundreds of fires.
A unit name is not always used as the locator, if a fire is located along the coast it could be name the Coastal Complex Fire, with Coastal serving as the locator.
This naming process may seem extremely simple, but it is effective in quickly allowing firefighters to place the location of a fire and start getting the fire out.