Devastating fires can occur in homes and other structures, as well as in forests, grasslands and other open spaces. They result from carelessness, faulty equipment, a deliberate act, natural disasters, such as earthquakes, and during extreme weather events.  Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires, but fires related to smoking cause the most deaths in homes. 

Fast Facts:

More than 4,000 Americans die in fires each year and thousands more suffer injuries.  Property loss is estimated at $8.6 billion and thousands of acres of forests are destroyed by wild fires every year.  A house fire can become life-threatening within two minutes, so there may be no time to try and gather personal items.  In five minutes, a home can be fully engulfed in flames.

Smoke alarms, with charged batteries, and having planned escape routes that all family members know are important life-saving measures.

Fire Safety Resources

Are You Ready? Citizen Preparedness – Fires – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Home Fire Safety – American Red Cross

Fire Prevention Information – U.S. Fire Administration (USFA)

University of Florida: The Disaster Handbook
Residential and Farm Fires
Agricultural Chemical Fires


Fire safety educational activities for children  – NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control  (OFPC)


As more people choose to build homes on hillsides, in heavily wooded areas and on prairies, the potential to be exposed to a wildfire increases. Wildfires are most often the result of a lightning strike or an accident but they spread quickly in areas heavy with vegetation. The smoke which is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and plants, can be very hazardous in a wildfire to people with chronic heart or lung conditions.

Wildfire Information Network – eXtension resource

Protecting your family and pets from wildfires – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Firewise Communities Program is a resource for agencies, organizations, Native American tribes, and communities in the U.S. who are working toward the reduction of lives and property caused by wildland fires.

Recovery Resources

Assisting farmers and rural residents  – USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA)
After the Fire, Returning to Normal  – USFA