Fire Safety Journal, 62(A): Special issue on spatial analytical approaches in urban fire management, pp 1-2
Urban fires are an important public health and safety concern. Despite the fact we no longer suffer single fire events with the scale of the great fires of Rome, London or Constantinople, worldwide we continue to experience in excess of 300,000 fire-related deaths per annum. The vast majority of these fire deaths occur in urban environments .
Urban fires, (defined as any fire occurring within an urbanised area that can include residential household and commercial building fires, arson, hoax calls and grassland fires) constitute the overriding majority of calls for service by fire agencies and have the greatest impact on operational costs, destruction of property and potential loss of human life. A significant limitation of existing research on urban fires has been the relative paucity of studies concerned with investigating both spatial and temporal dimensions of fire incidence, despite evidence that such events are unlikely to be distributed uniformly either in space or time , . Rather, urban fires disproportionally affect particular individuals , , neighbourhoods  with certain socio-demographic characteristics , ,  and under certain environmental conditions , , .