"Generally, it would be the battalion chief who takes charge of the fire and becomes the incident commander after it gets going" who names the blaze, according to Berger. Geographic markers, roads, or landmarks often dictate what a fire will be named; generally firefighters use the same naming criteria that the Indians did in Dancing With Wolves. The one thing fire personnel are really not supposed to do when choosing a name is to use, well, names. Having one's business or personal identification tied in the public mind to a destructive fire is not generally a good thing. So you won't be seeing the "McDonald's Farm Fire" or "Uptown 7-11 Fire" anytime soon.
Occasionally, bureaucratic hoops are jumped through to change or merge fire names. Berger recalls a 2003 incident in which a pair of large Oregon fires, each of which happened to be given a name starting with "B" combined into one, gargantuan fire. Fire personnel, in conjunction with the forest service, agreed to rename the combined conflagration the "B and B Complex Fire."
As to who named the Station and 49 Fires and why, we're not certain at this time (though we did notice that The 49 Fire is located a stone's throw from Highway 49). Greg Renick, a spokesman for the California Emergency Management Agency, is looking into it for us, but hasn't returned our call just yet.
We understand. He has other burning issues occupying him at the moment.
Update, 2:06 p.m.: Renick called back to inform us that The Station Fire is so named because it was sparked near the Angeles Crest Ranger Station. Intuitively, The 49 Fire was named after Highway 49.