TOPEKA (KSNT) – A report from the Kansas State Fire Marshal has revealed the leading cause for house fires in 2021.

House fires cause millions of dollars worth of damage across Kansas each year. With the latest statistics from the State Fire Marshal, the damage estimates have increased from 2020 to 2021 by several million dollars.

Residential fires in Kansas went from 2,099 in 2020 to 3,159 for 2021. The number of reported fires also reflects a steep increase in damage estimates: $23,537,135 in property loss and $9,441,599 in contents loss for 2020 escalated to $34,692,398 of property loss and $11,670,762 in 2021.

The leading cause for house fires in 2021 was cooking incidents. It should be no surprise to also learn that the majority of house fires came from the kitchen. Other leading causes of house fires included appliance or electrical malfunctions, smoking or fires that were intentionally set.

Wildfires also rose in number from 2020 to 2021. A total of 3,570 wildfires were reported in 2020 while 4,934 were reported for 2021. The total number of acres burned in wildfire went from 147,613 in 2020 to 185,467 in 2021. While there has been an increase in wildfires from 2020 to 2021, the total number of acres burned still doesn’t come close to 2017 when over 700,000 acres were consumed by wildfires, according to the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Commercial fires also increased in number from 2020 to 2021. However, both property and contents loss reporting decreased from one year to the next: $11,629,186 property loss and $10,866,641 in 2020 and $5,965,883 of property loss and $5,165,359 of contents loss in 2021. Eighteen firefighters and two civilians were injured in 2021 fires while four firefighters and 12 civilians were hurt in 2020 fires. The worst month for commercial fires in 2021 was March with 2,629 calls about fires received during that time.

To help reduce the chances of injury, property damage and death, the State Fire Marshal encourages Kansans to install smoke alarms. Five out of eight fire-related deaths in 2021 and nine out of 13 for 2020 occurred in homes that had no working smoke alarms present. Free smoke alarms can be acquired by using the Get Alarmed Kansas program. If you want a to learn more about how to get a free smoke alarm, click here.