The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has released its latest findings on fire losses in the U.S., which show that fire deaths (3,570) have decreased by 11 percent from 1998. The results confirm a positive trend of declining fire deaths. About 80 percent of all fire deaths continue to occur in the home; 70 percent of all structure fires continue to occur in homes.

While much of the data released was encouraging, the overall number of reported fires in the country rose by 4 percent to 1.8 million.

The release also listed some statistics: every 17 seconds, a fire department responds to a fire somewhere in this country; every 85 seconds, there is a home fire; and there is a civilian fire injury every 24 minutes.

Other findings include: Vehicle fires dropped by 3 percent last year to 368,500. The Northeast had the highest regional rate of fire injuries per million population, while the West had the lowest.

There was a significant increase in property damage as a result of fire - up 16 percemt from the previous year to an estimated direct cost of $10.02 trillion. The report also indicates a decrease of 5 percent in fires known to have been deliberately set or suspected of being set.

The full report will be published later this year in NFPA Journal and will address several strategies that have already helped reduce the overall U.S. fire death toll, as well as offer the potential for future declines.