Fires get named, just like brands do, because names communicate information quickly. According to Cal Fire as reported in the New York Times, “Officials said that quickly coming up with a label provides firefighters another way to locate the blaze and allows officials to track and prioritize incidents by name.” But there is a bit of difference.
Fire names tend to identify a piece of geography which otherwise, unlike a strong brand name, doesn’t really signify anything. But like a brand name the fire name is infused with meaning, usually apocalyptical, as the product, in this case the fire, becomes an experience. Mann Gulch, Witch, Ute Park, Spring Creek could be benign suburban housing developments absent of context but for those who know these places, these names are are anything but benign.