St. Paul, MN (AP) -- Fire deaths in Minnesota have decreased this year, down dramatically from 2015. State Fire Marshal Bruce West reports there have been 24 deaths from fires so far this year, compared to 49 at this time last year.

West says one factor in the low numbers this year might be vaping, as people light up fewer traditional cigarettes. By the end of 2015, 57 people died from fires, a spike from 44 deaths in each of the prior two years. West attributes that increase to a slew of deadly space heater fires as the weather turned colder.

West says fire departments have been emphasizing fire prevention and repeating warnings about the dangers of heat appliances.