CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > International Journal of Wildland Fire   
International Journal of Wildland Fire
  Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
blank image Search
blank image blank image
blank image
  Advanced Search

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Structure
Online Early
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Research Fronts
Sample Issue
20-Year Author Index
For Authors
General Information
Submit Article
Author Instructions
Open Access
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates
Library Recommendation

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with CP
blank image
facebook twitter logo LinkedIn

red arrow Connect with IAWF
blank image
facebook twitter LinkedIn


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 23(6)

Investigation of the decline in reported smoking-caused wildfires in the USA from 2000 to 2011

David T. Butry A C, Jeffrey P. Prestemon B and Douglas S. Thomas C

A Applied Economics Office, Engineering Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Mailstop 8603, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8603, USA.
B Forest Economics and Policy Research, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Science, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, PO Box 12254, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.
C Applied Economics Office, Engineering Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Mailstop 8603, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8603, USA.
D Corresponding author. Email: david.butry@nist.gov

International Journal of Wildland Fire 23(6) 790-798 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF13146
Submitted: 3 September 2013  Accepted: 5 May 2014   Published: 21 July 2014

PDF (589 KB) $25
 Export Citation

The number of smoking-caused wildfires has been falling nationwide. In national forests in 2011, smoking-caused wildfires represented only 10% of their 1980 level. No other cause of wildfire has experienced this level of decline. For 12 states, we evaluate the rate of smoking-caused wildfires and find it is a function of weather, other ignitions, the number of adult smokers, the presence of improved wildfire cause-determination methods, and whether a state required the sale of less fire-prone cigarettes. We find the decline in adult smoking rates has led to a reduction of smoking-caused fires by 9%. The finding that less fire-prone cigarettes appear successful at limiting wildfire starts – by 23% – is a likely unintended benefit of a technology aimed at reducing fire fatalities in residences. We also find that the improvements in wildfire cause determination have resulted in a reduction in smoking-classified fires by 48%. Although improved wildfire cause-determination methods do not necessarily reduce the number of wildfires, they ensure that the causes of wildfire are accurately tracked. Accurate wildfire cause determination can, however, result in targeting wildfire-prevention programs to specific fire-cause categories, which can lead to a reduction in the overall number of wildfires.

Additional keywords: economics, fire-safe cigarettes, fire standard compliant, prevention, wildfire investigation, wildland–urban interface.


Center for Disease Control (2013) Trends in current cigarette smoking among high school students and adults, United States, 1965–2011. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/tables/trends/cig_smoking/index.htm [Verified 8 August 2013]

Federal Register (2001) Urban wildland interface communities within the vicinity of federal lands that area at high risk from wildfire. Federal Register Notes 66, 751–777.

Grala K, Cooke WH (2010) Spatial and temporal characteristics of wildfires in Mississippi, USA. International Journal of Wildland Fire 19, 14–28.
CrossRef |

Hall JR Jr (2012) The smoking-material fire problem. National Fire Protection Association, Fire Analysis and Research Division, NFPA number USS10. (Quincy, MA) Available at http://www.nfpa.org/~/media/Files/Research/NFPA%20reports/Major%20Causes/ossmoking.pdf [Verified 23 May 2014]

Hobbs F, Stoops N (2002) Demographic trends in the 20th Century: Census 200 special reports. CENSR-4. Available at http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/censr-4.pdf [Verified 20 May 2013]

Keep America Beautiful, Inc. (2009) National visible litter survey and litter cost study. Available at http://www.kab.org/site/DocServer/Final_KAB_Report_9-18-09.pdf [Verified 20 May 2013]

Keep America Beautiful, Inc. (2010) Litter in America: results from the nation’s largest litter study. Available at http://www.kab.org/site/DocServer/LitterFactSheet_CIGARETTE.pdf?docID=5182 [Verified 20 May 2013]

Miranda BR, Sturtevant BR, Stewart SI, Hammer RB (2012) Spatial and temporal drivers of wildfire occurrence in the context of rural development in northern Wisconsin, USA. International Journal of Wildland Fire 21, 141–154.
CrossRef |

National Atlas (2013) Forest resources of the United States. Available at http://www.nationalatlas.gov/articles/biology/a_forest.html [Verified 20 May 2013]

National Fire Protection Association (2013) Less fire-prone cigarettes: history. Available at http://www.nfpa.org/itemDetail.asp?categoryID=2265&itemID=52978 [Verified 20 May 2013]

National Wildfire Coordinating Group (2005) Wildfire origin & cause determination. National Interagency Fire Center, NWCG Handbook 1, PMS 412-1. (Boise, ID) Available at http://www.nwcg.gov/pms/pubs/nfes1874/nfes1874.pdf [Verified 23 May 2014]

Prestemon JP, Butry DT, Abt KL, Sutphen R (2010) Net benefits of wildfire prevention education efforts. Forest Science 56, 181–192.

Satoh K, Zhong YL, Yang KT (2003) Study of forest fire initiation due to lighted cigarette: measurement and observation of flaming probability of dried leaves. In ‘Proceedings of the 6th ASME-JSME Thermal Engineering Joint Conference’, 16–20 March 2003, Hawaii, HI. Paper TED-AJ03-551. (The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers: Tokyo, Japan)

StataCorp (2011) Stata Statistical Software: Release 12. (StataCorp LP: College Station, TX)

Sun C, Tolver B (2012) Assessing the distribution patterns of wildfire sizes in Mississippi, USA. International Journal of Wildland Fire 21, 510–520.
CrossRef |

Syphard AD, Radeloff VC, Keeley JE, Hawbaker TJ, Clayton MK, Stewart SI, Hammer RB (2007) Human influence on California fire regimes. Ecological Applications 17, 1388–1402.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Theobald DM, Romme WH (2007) Expansion of the US wildland–urban interface. Landscape and Urban Planning 83, 340–354.
CrossRef |

USDA Forest Service (2008) Visitor use information 1924–1996. Available at http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/facts/ [Verified 20 May 2013]

USDA Forest Service (2013) Land areas report (LAR). <http://www.fs.fed.us/land/staff/lar/LAR2012/lar2012index.html [Verified 20 May 2013]

USA Today (2009) States push for less fire-prone cigarettes. Available at http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-01-02-cigarettes_N.htm [Verified 21 May 2013]

Vuong Q (1989) Likelihood ratio tests for model selection and non-nested hypotheses. Econometrica 57, 307–333.
CrossRef |

Xanthopoulos G, Ghosn D, Kazakis G (2006) Investigation of the wind speed threshold above which discarded cigarettes are likely to be moved by wind. International Journal of Wildland Fire 15, 567–576.
CrossRef |

Subscriber Login

Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help


© CSIRO 1996-2016