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Firesafe Together

Youth Firesetting Prevention and Intervention Program

Fires set by children account for approximately 250,000 fires per year. Over 40% of youth firesetters are under age 5, and 70% are under age 10. Nationally, children who play with fire cause nearly 80,000 structure fires per year which results in approximately 760 deaths and more than 3,500 injuries. Youth fire misuse does an estimated 1.2 billion dollars in damage annually. Juveniles account for more than 50% of all arson arrests in the United States. Almost half of those arrested are youths 15 and under. More youths are involved in the crime of arson than other age groups.

In Buncombe County

Recent experiences in Buncombe County have indicated the need for a youth firesetter intervention program. Children have suffered serious burns at their own hands and houses, vehicles and wildlands have been destroyed either intentionally or unintentionally.

Program Overview

Youth firesetting is a serious problem, regardless of age. Early recognition of the issue and taking appropriate measures to end the problem can greatly reduce the chances of repeat behavior and, more importantly, serious injury or death.

Program Goal

The overall goal of the FIRESAFE TOGETHER is to reduce the frequency and severity of the tragedy and trauma associated with youth fire related activities. The program seeks to identify youths in the community who are experimenting with fire and fire tools, and educating them on the deadly nature of these activities.

Program Components

Identification and Referral to the Program: This occurs through fire service response to a child-set fire by parents, school counselors, law enforcement, and other community resources.

Interview and Risk Determination: A Family and children interview process is undertaken to determine the level of risk and appropriate interventions

Intervention Implementation: This can include education, family counseling, training, and, if needed, juvenile court involvement.

Youth Firesetting Specialists

Program specialists are NC State Fire and Life Safety Educations, Level 1, and have been trained in accordance with NFPA 1035 regarding youth firesetting. The program is confidential and will provide firesetters and their families fire safety and prevention education.

What Families Can DO:

  • Prevent fires by providing fire safety education from preschool through high school.
  • Raise awareness in the community about youth firesetting.
  • Educate parents/caregivers and all who work with children about where they can go for help about firesetting.
  • Form partnerships to help support firesetting prevention and intervention programs.
  • Report suspected child and youth firesetting activities; download the Youth Firesetter Referral Form and e-mail to or fax (828) 285-8307.

If you suspect your child of setting fires, you and your family are at a higher risk for suffering the consequences of a fire. Left untreated, children who misuse fires will repeat the behavior 81% of the time. You are not the only parent to face this problem. Contact FIRESAFE TOGETHER to ask for assistance we can provide intervention and education to help you and your family be safe from fire.