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Monday January 01, 2018

USFA Data Show Improvements on Fires in Past Decade

Fires and associated deaths, injuries, and monetary losses trended downward over 2006-2015, according to December data from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). The agency reported ( that the fire rate per million people trended down 25.0%, while similarly defined deaths, injuries and losses went down 9.9%, 14.2%, and 26.1%. However, the improvements do not necessarily represent evenly-downward trends. Descriptions of the year-to-year trends include:

  • Fires (down 25.0%): These mostly trended down, starting at 5.5 per million people in 2006. They declined steadily to 2010 (4.3) but bumped up in 2011 (4.5) and 2011 (4.4). They fell to a low in 2013 (3.9) and rose to 4.2 in 2015.

  • Deaths (down 9.9%): These hovered between a high of 11.4 in 2007 and a low of 9.1 in 2012. The middle four years (2009-2012) were lower (range 9.1-10.1) than the first three (range 10.9-11.4) or last three (range 10.2-10.3).

  • Injuries (down 14.2%): These fluctuated in the first half between a 54.9 low in 2008 and 58.7 high in 2007. Then they fell every year in the second half to 48.9 in 2015.

  • Dollar Losses (26.1%): USFA measured these per capita and adjusted to 2015 dollars. They rose in the first three years from $44.6 to $56.0. Then they fell over the next three years to $39.4 in 2011. They stayed in that range until 2014, but then jumped back to $44.6 in 2015.

Population-adjusted numbers are deemed better at showing changes over time. The difference between actual and adjusted was especially striking for deaths in USFA's data – the adjusted showed a 9.9% downward trend, but the raw numbers showed just a third of that: down 3.3%. The other trend comparisons were fires (down 25.0% adjusted versus down 19.1% raw), injuries (down 14.2% versus down 8%), and losses (down 26.1% versus down 12.6%).