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Brush, grass and forest fires

Report: NFPA's "Brush, Grass and Forest Fires"
Author: Marty Ahrens
Issued: September 2018

 

Key findings

While devastating fires in the wildland urban interface (WUI) have become common stories on the nightly news, many people do not realize that brush, grass and forest fires account for almost one-quarter (23%) of fires handled by local (municipal or county) fire departments.

  • During 2011-2015, local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 306,000 brush, grass, and forest fires per year, an average of 840 fires per day.
  • During 2011-2015, heavy or light vegetation was the item first ignited in an average of 6,200 reported home structure fires per year. These fires caused an average of seven civilian deaths, 53 civilian injuries, and $130 million in direct property damage.
  • The vast majority of brush, grass and forest fires in 2011-2015 were caused by human activities. Leading causes include intentional fire setting, open burning of waste, smoking materials, and electrical power or utility lines.
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