Fire deaths in Minnesota decreased last year, according to a preliminary report released Thursday.
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, 36 people died in fires in 2018, which marks a 47 percent drop from 68 deaths in 2017.
Currently, 2018 saw the fewest fire deaths since 2009, when there were 35 deaths, the DPS reported.
The leading causes of fatal fires in Minnesota in 2018, according to the DPS, were careless smoking, cooking, and portable heaters.
State Fire Marshal Bruce West credited 2018's decrease in fire deaths to state fire departments quickly responding as well as efforts to inform community members about fire prevention and safety.
"We must always keep our guard up because a devastating fire can happen to anyone," West said in a statement. "It is common for us to see peaks and valleys with fire deaths but we all need to continue working together toward the ultimate goal: zero fire deaths in Minnesota."