"Each year, the National Fire Data Center (NFDC) of the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) publishes a running 10-year statistical overview of the fires in the United States,with focus on the latest year in which data were available at the time of preparation. This report is designed to arm the fire service and others with information that motivates corrective action, sets priorities, targets specific fire programs, serves as a model for state and local analyses of fire data, and provides a baseline for evaluating programs. This Twelfth Edition of Fire in the Unites States covers the 10-year period from 1989 to 1998, with emphasis on 1998. The primary source of data is from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) annual survey results, mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), data from State Fire Marshals Offices or their equivalents, and statistics from the U.S. Bureau of the Census and the Consumer Price Index are also used. Because of the time it takes for the states to send data to USFA from nearly 13,000 fire departments that participate in NFIRS, then edit and obtain corrections and analyze and display the results, the publication lags the date of data collection. Fortunately, the fire problem does not change very rapidly so the data are usually quite representative of the situation in the year of publication as well."
U.S. Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/