How wildfires get their names
Roughly 600,000 acres have burned in Texas in 2022 so far — and we couldn't help but wonder how some of the biggest blazes end up with their own names.
Driving the news: Last week, firefighters worked over a dozen wildfires across the state. Many of them are still burning.
- The Chalk Mountain fire near Glen Rose burned over 6,700 acres and was 10% contained as of Sunday night.
- The 1148 fire at Possum Kingdom Lake, northwest of Tarrant County, has burned over 450 acres. The fire was mostly contained as of Sunday night.
The intrigue: Unlike with hurricanes, the names of big fires don't come from a pre-set running list, the Texas A&M Forest Service tells Axios.
- First responders usually get to name the fire, and they often go with the closest geographic location or landmark.
Details: The Chalk Mountain and 1148 fires were named after local landmarks.
- Chalk Mountain is an area of Erath County that was named after an elevated area with white rock. The community once had a post office and two businesses, but it's now considered a ghost town because of its small population.
- The 1148 fire refers to FM 1148, which traces Possum Kingdom Lake.
Yes, but: Not every wildfire gets a name.
- The forest service says that in regions like East Texas, where wildfires are frequent, firefighters wait until a blaze has burned over 100 acres of timber and over 300 acres of grass before giving it a proper name.
- Otherwise, the fire's name = the originating county's name + an auto-generated number.
Threat level: Most of Texas, including North Texas, remains under an outdoor burn ban due to drought conditions and "critical fire weather," per the Texas A&M Forest Service.
- Now might be a good time to check your insurance policy and brush up on these wildfire safety tips.
More Dallas stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Dallas.