February 7, 2005

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued a special report examining the causes and severity of seasonal fires attributed to changes in weather patterns and human activities.

"Through prevention initiatives and programs, we can target the causes and human behaviors that influence the repetitive nature of seasonal fires each year," said Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response. "Locally as well as nationally, these initiatives and programs could have a major impact on the reduction of fire related emergencies."

The report, The Seasonal Nature of Fires, was developed by the National Fire Data Center, part of FEMA's U.S. Fire Administration. The report explores fire patterns by each season of the year, including changes in incidence and causes of fires. Daily fire incidence is at its highest during the spring months - with a seasonal average of nearly 5,000 fires each day. The findings in this report are based primarily on National Fire Incident Reporting System data averaged over the 2001-2002 period.

"By understanding the nature and scope of seasonal fires, public education and other fire-related programs can be specifically targeted at these seasonal fire problems," said U.S. Fire Administrator R. David Paulison.

According to the report, the incidence of daily fires increases during and around four holiday periods: Independence Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the winter holiday period that includes Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year's. More fires are reported on July 4th than any other day of the year.

A copy of the full report can be downloaded from:
http://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/.../seasonal.shtm