"Throughout the world, lighters and matches are prominent symbols of fire and fire ignition, transcending barriers of language, age, and culture-and for good reason. Lighters and matches ignite candles, pilot lights, campfires, cigarettes, fireplace fires, and countless other presumably safe fires. Easy to buy, easy to transport and easy to use, matches and lighters are convenient and effective, but can also be deadly and destructive. Although lighters and matches are similar in use and availability, match−ignited fires outnumber lighter−ignited fires by more than two to one. It is important to recognize that lighter− and match−ignited fires have different characteristics and an unequal degree of severity. Together, lighters and matches caused 9% of all fires where the heat source was specified, and estimates indicate that there were 144,000 reported fires ignited by lighters or matches in 2002. Combined, match and lighter fires were the source of ignition in fires that killed an estimated 321 civilians, injured 1,877, and caused $470 million in property loss in 2002. This topical report examines the causes and characteristics of lighter and match fires, based on 2002 NFIRS [National Fire Incident Reporting System] data, and compares such characteristics with those of all fires."
U.S. Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/
Topical Fire Report Series (October 2004), v.4 no.1