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Tracking the National Fire Problem: The Data behind the Statistics



Douglas S. Thomas, David T. Butry


The objective of this report is to support the development of descriptive statistics and associated measures of uncertainty for characterizing, tracking, and better understanding the root causes of the U.S. fire burden by identifying the relevant costs and losses associated with fire—i.e., information needed to make cost-effective decisions for reducing the economic impact fires have on society—and identifying sources of data that would allow future statistical analysis, while highlighting areas where future research is needed. This data will be used to develop performance metrics, enabling future comparisons between the use of new fire mitigation technologies and their impact on the U.S. fire burden.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1717
Report Number


fire burden, fire statistics, fire data, mitigation costs, fire cost, fire loss, economics, cost plus loss


Thomas, D. and Butry, D. (2011), Tracking the National Fire Problem: The Data behind the Statistics, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 16, 2024)


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Created November 21, 2011, Updated January 27, 2020