It's prime time for house fires in Minnesota, and deaths are up compared to 2013

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Dozens of Minnesotans have been forced from their homes due to fires since last Thursday – a pattern Minnesota sees every year during the holidays, a notoriously dangerous time for house fires.

The Red Cross said Monday volunteers have aided more than 40 people across Minnesota and western Wisconsin since Christmas. That includes a Brooklyn Park fire affecting two adults and eight children, and one in Farmington that displaced a family.

There are volunteers in Esko and Hinckley helping families of three after two separate house fires, Northland's NewsCenter says. There are also some in Hibbing, Minneapolis, St. Cloud, and Frederic, Wisconsin.

The State Fire Marshal says there have 38 fire-related deaths in Minnesota through November of 2014 – up from 35 at this time one year ago.

Fire incidents increase during holidays

According to the Department of Public Safety, the winter holiday season is a "historically" dangerous time for residential fire deaths.

Why? The three leading cause of house fires last year were cooking, heating (think fire places or space heaters), and open flames – all of which are particularly prevalent during the cold holidays.

Over the past five years, from the period of Christmas Eve through midnight Jan. 1, 27 people have died in Minnesota as a result of a fire. Another 21 people were injured.

Going back further: Since 1990, there have been 165 fire deaths and 60 injuries between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.

Fire deaths also rise during Thanksgiving weekend, the department notes.

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