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From 2016 to 2018, an estimated 3,700 recreational vehicle (RV) fires were reported to fire departments in the United States each year. Annually, these fires resulted in an estimated 15 civilian deaths, 100 civilian injuries and $58,500,000 in loss.1
|Loss measure||RV fires|
The average number of fatalities per 1,000 RV fires reported to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) from 2016 to 2018 was 4.6. During the same time period, the number of injuries per 1,000 fires was 15.9. Additionally, the amount of dollar loss per RV fire was $16,140.2
Of the 3,700 RV fires, 84% were not self-propelled, and the remaining 16% were self-propelled. Source: NFIRS 5.0.
RV fires most frequently occurred during the afternoon, peaking from 1 to 3 p.m. (14%). RV fires occurred least often in the morning hours from 4 to 5 a.m. (2%). Source: NFIRS 5.0.
RV fires occurred most frequently on Fridays (15%) and Saturdays (16%). This coincides with the weekend and time off. Source: NFIRS 5.0.
RV fires occurred most often during the months of May through August, accounting for 38% of the fires. It is possible this slight peak may be due to elevated outdoor temperatures or increased vehicle use, as many individuals and families take vacations during these months. Source: NFIRS 5.0.
In 37% of the RV fires, the cause of ignition was unintentional actions, followed by failure of equipment or heat source (15%). Exposures and intentional actions caused an additional 6% and 4% of the RV fires, respectively, while acts of nature resulted in less than 1% of the fires. The cause of ignition was undetermined after the investigation in 24% of the RV fires and was still under investigation in 13% of the fires. Source: NFIRS 5.0.
24.5% Cause undetermined after investigation
15.2% Failure of equipment or heat source
13.0% Cause under investigation
0.4% Act of nature
Total does not add up to 100% due to rounding for the unknowns apportioned distribution.
|Areas of fire origin||Percent|
Engine area, running gear, wheel area
Other vehicle area
Operator, passenger area of vehicle
Other area of fire origin
Cargo, trunk area
Sources: NFIRS and the National Fire Protection Association.
Vehicle Fires: What You Need to Know. This pamphlet highlights what the public should and should not do in the event of a vehicle fire.