The most deadly months for house fires are upon us, which has Minnesota officials urging safety to prevent any more deaths.
The number of fatal fires this year has already surpassed last year's total, the state Department of Public Safety said in a news release Monday.
They say 46 people have died in 2015, compared to 44 in all of 2014. At this time last year, 41 people had died in residential fires.
And typically, cold-weather months are the most deadly for fires, which is one reason the State Fire Marshal launched a social media campaign to encourage people to share the steps they take to prevent fires using the hashtag #FireFree on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Minnesota State Fire Marshal Bruce West says the agency's goal is to have no more residential or fatal fires for the rest of the year.
“We need people to be part of the solution by taking fire prevention seriously,” West said in the news release. “We do not want anyone else to suffer the heartache that comes along with a house fire.”
The Department of Public Safety has tips to stay safe, noting the leading cause of fires during the holiday season are cooking, heating and open flames.
Since 1990, there have been an average of 81 residential fires over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and 187 residential fires between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day.