USFA Releases New Year's Holiday Fires Report

Author: USFA

WASHINGTON D.C. - The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued a special report, part of its Topical Fire Research Series, examining the incidence of New Year's Holiday Fires. The report was developed by the National Fire Data Center, part of FEMA's U.S. Fire Administration. This report examines the patterns and characteristics of fires that occurred during the 2001 and 2002 New Year's holidays, and compares those characteristics with average fire patterns during comparable winter days and throughout the rest of the year.

"As heating demands, fireplace usage, wood stove usage and holiday lighting increase throughout America, additional fire safety precautions should be taken to ensure a safe holiday season," said Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response.

According to the report, approximately 6,400 fires in the United States occurred during the average New Year's holiday, causing an estimated $53 million in property damage. Nearly 28% of New Year's outdoor fires were caused by fireworks.

"With the holidays fast approaching, it is important for all Americans to take those steps necessary to prevent these holiday fires," according to U.S. Fire Administrator R. David Paulison. "Following local fire department recommendations and common fire safety procedures related to home fire safety, fireworks and outdoor fires will help to make this holiday a safe one for all residents." A copy of the full report can be downloaded from:

On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.