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‘America Burning': A roadmap for change

In 1973, a national commission studying the U.S. fire problem created what would become a wake-up call for fire protection in America. The report, “America Burning,” defined in blunt terms and graphic images America’s fire problem as one of the worst in the world’s industrial countries. Any 1970s-era firefighters who read the report could not help but feel proud of their dangerous work.

Published on May 4, 1973, “America Burning” served as a road map for change.

In 1974, Congress passed the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act. The law created the National Fire Prevention and Control Administration, now the U.S. Fire Administration – and with it the National Fire Academy.

2023 marks 50 years since the seminal report changed the trajectory of fire service priorities for decades.

The landmark federal report marked a turning point for the U.S. fire service in 1973. Five decades later, many of its recommendations remain relevant – and unmet
Decades of deadly fires spurred federal action, culminating in the iconic 1973 publication that remains relevant to the fire service today
Fifty years after the pivotal report, there is clearly still work to be done and new challenges to address for future firefighters
Remembering Dr. Anne W. Phillips, author of the Minority Report published in conjunction with “America Burning”
Having a foundational understanding of our history is essential to seeing the bigger picture for our future
A message from the IAFC president, calling for a renewed commitment to these principles in our efforts to prevent and respond to fires
“Fire remains a serious threat to public safety — and America is still burning,” said Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell on a three-city tour
The “State of Science” event will feature presentations from fire service leaders detailing challenges and proposed solutions to the fire problems facing the nation
Speaking to a room of chief and company officers, Dr. Moore-Merrell outlined a plan to track suicides, attack wildfires and refocus data-gathering
“America Burning” spotlights firefighters, legends propose new tactics, and smoke detectors change the game
A new NFPA report unpacks what has changed and what has remained the same since ‘America Burning’