Our statistical reports explore aspects of the U.S. fire problem that affect Americans in their daily lives. Primarily based on data collected through the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), our reports address the nature and relevance of the specific fire or fire-related problem, highlight important findings, and suggest other resources to consider for further information.
Appliance and electrical
From 2008 to 2010, fire departments responded to an estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires in residential buildings. These fires resulted in an annual average loss of 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.
It's hard to imagine a home without electricity in the United States, but using it can have dangerous consequences. This report addresses the characteristics of home electrical fires from 2014 to 2016.
Cooking was, by far, the leading cause of all residential building fires and accounted for 51% of all residential building fires responded to by fire departments across the nation. Additionally, cooking was the leading cause of residential building fire injuries.
Although trending downward since the early 1980's, heating fires remained the second leading cause of residential building fires.
While portable heater fires in residential buildings were only 3% of all heating fires in residential buildings, their consequences were substantial, accounting for 41% of fatal heating fires in residential buildings.
Holiday and seasonal
For each year from 2017 to 2019, an estimated average of 9,200 fires were reported to fire departments in the United States over a 3-day period around Halloween.
For each year from 2017 to 2019, an estimated average of 2,300 residential building fires were reported to fire departments in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day.
Intentional fires are those fires that are deliberately set and include fires that result from deliberate misuse of a heat source, fires of an incendiary nature (arson), as well as controlled burn fires that required fire service intervention.
Lighters and matches were the leading heat sources of intentionally set fires in residential buildings.
Lighters, heat from other open flame or smoking materials, and matches were the leading heat sources of intentionally set fires in residential buildings.
The July 3-5 period has the highest daily intentionally set outdoor fire incidence.
Fires or explosions caused by the batteries used in electronic cigarette are uncommon; however the consequences can be devastating and life-altering for the victims.
Fire in the United States
This collection of reports looks at the U.S. fire problem in 10-year periods, beginning in 1985. The reports provide a statistical overview of the fire problem that can motivate corrective action. They can also be used to select priorities, help target fire programs, and serve as a model for state or local analyses of fire data.
Archived topical fire reports
This spreadsheet contains links to older topical reports that we have archived off our website.
Data sources for our reports
Our reports reflect the most current data year available at the time of analysis. In priority order, we primarily rely on these data sources:
|National Fire Incident Reporting System incident-level data||10 to 18 months after the end of the calendar year|
|National Center for Health Statistics vital records||2 plus years after the end of the calendar year|
|National Fire Protection Association survey estimates||9 months after the end of the calendar year|
Other data sources include the Consumer Price Index and the U.S. Census Bureau.
These documents describe the data sources and methodology we use to calculate our fire loss estimates.
- White paper: National Fire Estimation Using NFIRS Data (May 2017), PDF
- Data Sources and Methodology Documentation PDF
- National Estimates Methodology for Building Fires and Losses PDF
Topical Fire Report Series
Data sources and methodology documentation.