Abstract A retrospective study of 716 patients aged 60 years and above (324 men, 392 women) was undertaken in order to determine quality control in burns management in the South West of France. The following epidemiological data was obtained: high hospitalization rate (7 per cent of the general admissions); monthly and seasonal periodicity; predominance of indoor accidents (86 per cent) with domestic accidents being more frequent in women (63 vs. 37 per cent). Outdoor accidents were mainly recreational and were five times more frequent in men than in women. The overall mortality was 39 per cent and was influenced by the burns extent, depth, predisposing factors and early management. More burns occurred in urban areas (53 per cent) but mortality was higher in patients from rural areas (62 vs. 38 per cent). It was observed that delay in management, especially fluid resuscitation of patients from the rural areas, was partly responsible for this outcome. Propositions were made to diffuse more information on the importance of early management of burns in rural areas.