SAN ANGELO, Texas — What do Smashed Taco, Iron Knob, Nappin Cowboy, Sleepy Sunday and Flying Monkey have in common according to the Texas A&m Forest Service? They are all names of wildfires from the 2022 fire season.
Wildfire fire names differ a lot compared to Hurricane and tropical storm names which are pre-selected from an already existing list of names. Wildfires get their names from first responders, incident commanders and dispatchers, usually based on the geographic locations or landmarks near the origin of the fire.
In East Texas, where wildfires are frequent, wildfires don’t get a name unless they are large — more than 100 acres in forest fuels and more than 300 acres in grass fuels. Smaller fires are usually referred to by the county name and an auto-generated number, such as the Cass 2852 Fire that burned 7 acres in Cass County.
Though wildfires aren’t to be taken lightly, some of them have very note-worthy names, including Muddy Mess, Slip and Slide, Hit the Ditch, Circus and Ghost. Other entries on the list are Vacuum, Field of Dreams, Singing Yucca and Hot Cotton.
Sometimes it depends on the size of the fire, from large — Big Hippo, Big Joshua, Big L and Big Sniff — to small — Little Buffalo, Little Stasney and Little Thicket.
State pride is not something Texans shy away from so it is to be expected there are several fires representing the state of Texas such as the Lone Star, Alamo, DPS and Beaver Nugget fires. And just in time for college football season, there’s TAMU, Long Horn and Rice.
Showing love for the cowboy lifestyle is the aforementioned Nappin Cowboy, Barbwire, Spinning Spurs, Tumbleweed, Horseshoe and Leaning Barn joining Dancing Mule, Angus and Sheep.
For those with an eye toward the cosmos, there were fires named Apollo, Space X, Little Dipper, Stargazer and Wandering Rocket.
And there’s a nod to travelers with Cadillac, Rest Stop, Road Sign, Right of Way, Roadside, Speedy, Slowpoke, Shortcut and even Welcome Home.
For couples, there were the Valentine’s Day, Love and Lucky fires, countered by fires named Lonely, Meanville, Trouble and Loveless.
Plenty of food made the list, giving you an idea of what firefighters might have on their minds. We’ve already mentioned Smashed Taco, but there was also Bacon, Sausage, Peanut, Cashew, Slim Jim, Fish Fry, Marshmallow, Moonpie and Buttermilk. And don’t forget the Margarita and Lemon Lime.
Wildlife is well-represented. Ram, Zebra, Buck, Bear, Angry Beaver, Bobcat, Prairie Dog, Wolf and Quail join Locust, Gecko and Hawk on the list.
Dog lovers should appreciate the Bull Dog, Dalmatian and Bassett Bottoms fires.
There were a couple of celebrity sightings: Fonzie and Kid Rock made the list, as did Hollywood and Los Angeles.
No Texas A&M Forest Service list would be complete without a few trees, so Post Oak, Burnt Pine and Rolling Pines fit the bill, as does Christmas.
While wildfires have slowed down due to the increase in the rain across Texas, things can dry out quickly. Remember to always be cautious and aware of the hazards to prevent fires from starting.
CC Texas A&M Forest Service