Cause of Black Forest Fire May Never Be Determined

June 30, 2014

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa says they might never know for sure how Colorado’s most destructive fire – the Black Forest Fire – started. He says smoking, a campfire and a train have all been ruled out as fire starters.

Investigators previously said the fire was human-caused, but Maketa has said there is no evidence it was intentionally set.

The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA) provided updated insurance damage estimates from the fire, with insured losses now estimated at $420.5 million resulting from approximately 4,173 auto and homeowners claims. That’s about a $128 million dollar increase from the $292.8 million in damages estimated in the initial weeks after the fire.

The Black Forest Fire ranks as the state’s second most costly wildfire. The Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs is the most expensive, with $460.3 million (in 2013 dollars) insured losses resulting from 6,648 auto and homeowners insurance claims. El Paso County reported 488 structures burned in the June 2013 Black Forest blaze, whereas 347 homes were reported burned in the Waldo Canyon Fire.

Wildfire insurance costs hinge on a number of factors, including the number of primary residences in the area (as compared to vacation homes and cabins), the cost to repair/rebuild, and the amount of insurance coverage on the properties. The number of claims filed – ranging from smoke or partial damage to destroyed vehicles and homes – in the Waldo Canyon Fire was 6,648, compared to 4,173 filed in the Black Forest Fire.


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