Total cost of fire in Australia

Brian Ashe*, K. J. McAneney, A. J. Pitman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Fire, an ever present hazard in Australia, causes approximately 100 fatalities and over 3000 injuries per annum. Significant resources are allocated to mitigate the risk. In this study, we estimate the total cost of fire in Australia for 2005 at AUD$12,000 million or 1.3% of GDP. Comparable studies in the UK, USA, Canada, Denmark and New Zealand are reviewed and show that the cost in these countries ranges between 0.8 and 2% of GDP. Breaking the Australian total down into its component parts, we find that 57% relates to costs in anticipation of fire, 29% for response activities and that the remaining 14% results from the consequences of fire. This estimate shows that the investment in mitigation (86% of the total costs) is over five times the consequences (14%) and raises questions as to whether the current system adopted in Australia is economically efficient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-136
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Risk Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Australia fire cost


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