Firefighters were called out to 55 preventable fires in Melton last year.

Almost half of those fires started in the kitchen, the latest Country Fire Authority statistics released earlier this month revealed.

The figures were down 14 per cent on the previous year where firefighters responded to 63 preventable house fires.

CFA chief Steve Warrington said winter remained a traditionally busy time for firefighters.

“There is a perception in the community that the majority of fires tend to happen in summer, but this simply isn’t the case,” Mr Warrington said.

“As the weather cools down, people bring out their heaters, turn on their electric blankets and stoke up their wood fires. This means we see a spike in heating-related fires.”

The kitchen continues to be a fire hotspot, mainly due to unattended cooking, he said. Faulty electrical distribution, electrical appliances and central heating are also major causes.

“Taking small safety precautions could be the difference between life and death. It’s just not worth the risk for you or your family,” Mr Warrington said.

“Unattended cooking is a major hazard all year round. This often happens when people are distracted and forget about that pot boiling on the stove, or leave something in the oven while they run a quick errand.

“We also find that people leave candles and oil burners unattended in a dangerous position where they can catch on to curtains and other flammable items.”

Statewide, crews attended more than 3000 preventable residential fires last year.

More than a third of those were in the kitchen and other top areas of origin included the bedroom (254) and lounge room (209).

MFB acting chief officer Paul Stacchino said while the state experienced less preventable residential fires overall than in the previous year, the numbers were too high.

“Last year 14 people died in preventable house fires in our state. That’s 14 grieving families living without their loved ones. This isn’t a number our community should accept.”