While only 32 percent of home heating fires involve space heaters, the heaters are involved in 79 percent of home heating fire deaths, according to the new report, “Home Fires Involving Heating Equipment,” released by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Quincy, Mass.

Heating equipment continues to be the second leading cause of home fires behind cooking and the second leading cause of home fire deaths behind smoking.

“Heating fires and the deaths they cause can usually be prevented with awareness and a few simple actions,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of communications.

The leading factor contributing to space heater fires in general was heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, a mattress or bedding. Other leading factors contributing to home space heater fires were failure to clean and leaving an operating space heater unattended.

In 2007, U.S. fire departments responded to 66,400 home structure fires that involved heating equipment. These fires killed 580 people, injured another 1,850, and were responsible for $608 million in direct property damage.