A wildland fire tops the list of largest loss fires for the fifth time in 10 years

Published on November 12, 2009
NFPA Journal publishes Large-Loss Fires report

November 12, 2009 - For the fifth time in the past 10 years, the largest loss associated with fires and explosions occurred in wildlands, and for the second year in a row, it happened in Southern California, according to the newly released National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report Large-loss fires in the United States-2008 (PDF, 159 KB). The report appears in the latest issue of NFPA Journal®, the official magazine of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

NFPA reports each year on large-loss fire and explosion losses in the United States, which it defines as any event that results in property damage of at least $10 million.

Other key findings from the report:

  1. Fire departments responded to 35 fires in 2008 which resulted in losses of $10 million or more each.
  2. These 35 fires resulted in 15 deaths, and injured 60 civilians and 32 firefighters. 
  3. Direct property loss from these fires was $2.34 billion.
  4. Although these fires accounted for only .002 percent of the estimated number of fires in 2008, they accounted for 15.3 percent of the total estimated dollar loss.

In the NFPA Journal story More. Bigger. Costlier., NFPA’s Firewise Communities Program Manager Michele Steinberg says “If we choose to acknowledge the reality of wildland fires, we can better anticipate how our cities and towns and neighborhoods will fare when confronted with fire when—not if—it arrives.”

The National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities program encourages local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters, and others in the effort to protect people and property from the risk of wildfire. The program is co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, the US Department of the Interior, and the National Association of State Foresters.

NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.

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Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275