Disaster Girl is a photoshopped meme in which she is superimposed on images to imply that she has caused some type of calamity depicted in the background.
Dave Roth took the picture of the girl and the burning house in January 2004. Roth took the picture during a local fire department’s training session with the real fire that was held two blocks away from his home in Mebane, North Carolina. Roth noticed his daughter, Zoe, smiling devilishly while watching the burning house, and took the photo.
Roth uploaded the photo, titled “Firestarter” to an image hosting service , Zooomr, on January 2, 2007. It did not grow in popularity until it was added to JPG Magazine on November 29, 2007. It was used for a themed “Emotion Capture” competition. The photo was selected for publication in February / March of 2008 to be printed for the magazine.
The initial JPG Magazine post had over 95,000 views by November 2008. The original photo, along with edits of Zoe in other photo backgrounds, were posted to Buzzfeed on October 27, 2008, along with a followup post the next day highlighting the best derivatives. They were then shared on Digg, TrendHunter, the eBaum, and Best Week Ever.