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State Fire Marshal

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Youth Fire Prevention and Intervention

General information Photo of kid standing and looking at fire.

Children are naturally curious about fire. In fact, children and adults alike find fire fascinating.  Fire is part of American culture, from the baby’s birthday candle and the holiday table to the 4th of July fireworks, the cozy fireplace, and the recreational campfire.
Curiosity in children is normal; starting fires is not — nor is it a phase. In fact, fire is potentially deadly, and it moves fast. 

Young children just don’t understand that, and older children overestimate their ability to control a fire. Research shows that without intervention, youthful firesetting behavior tends to continue. Children who repeatedly start fires need help.
The Minnesota Youth Firesetting Prevention and Intervention (YFPI) initiative is dedicated to the safety of our citizens to to getting necessary education to youth and families.


Help is available 

Youth Firesetter Helpline:
1-800-500-8897 or 651-201-7220

The Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division  has developed this helpline as an opportunity for citizens to find the help they need to curb firesetting by juveniles. A simple call will get help on the way. The incoming call will be answered by an automated system, and then reviewed by a deputy state fire Marshal. The deputy will then forward the case to a local authority for assistance.
If you feel yourself or others are in immediate danger, please call 911.

Online form

If your child is interest in or experimenting with fire, we can help you find a local youth firesetting prevention and intervention program. Please fill out this form and email it to us we will have a YFPI coordinator contact you.
You can also help to protect yourself and others by maintaining smoke alarms and by controlling your child’s access to fire and ignition devices. These actions as well as providing proper supervision will greatly reduce their chances of starting a fire.


Youth firesetting: A look at the problem in Minnesota

Photo of YFIRES logo.

YFIRES National Database

Collecting data regarding the extent of our national youth firesetting problem has been difficult. But now a free program -- the Youth Fire Intervention Repository and Evaluation System (YFIRES) -- lets you add specific and relevant information on all case management aspects of youth you are working with. 

Participation in this program is essential to accurately gather real data to reveal the full extent of our national youth firesetting problem. You can learn more at www.yfires.com. To participate in this program, please email Kathi Osmonson and she can set you up as a program user.

The data collected by the YFIRES program to date can be found here.​ For a breakdown of 2016 and 2017 only, click here​. ​

Five-year report

This five-year report on youth firesetting in Minnesota provides data on youth-set fires from 2011 to 2015 and helps identify the following: 
  • Reasons for youth-set fires
  • Locations of youth-set fires
  • Youth fire interventions
  • Other important information​

Supplement to Fire in Minnesota

This supplement to the 2013 Fire in Minnesota report provides information about youth firesetting prevention and intervention in Minnesota. A deeper look at existing data described in this report supports the theory that the number of incidents involving juveniles is underreported.

Contact us

You can reach our YFPI specialist, Kathi Osmonson, at kathi.osmonson@state.mn.us or 651-201-7220.