Colo. Fourmile Canyon Fire Most Expensive in State’s History

September 21, 2010

Insurance damage estimates from the Fourmile Canyon fire that burned from in September now totals more than $200 million, making it the most expensive wildfire in the state’s history, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.

The Fourmile Canyon Fire burned 169 homes and other personal property in the foothills just northwest of Boulder. Insurance adjusters gained access to the area last week, and while the claims and rebuilding process continues, preliminary damage estimates now total $217 million from insurance claims that include smoke damage, additional living expenses, damaged and destroyed homes, as well as personal belongings and vehicles.

The estimated insured losses make the Fourmile Canyon Fire Colorado’s most expensive wildfire with an insurance price tag four times higher than 2002’s Hayman Fire which resulted in $46.1 in insured damage when adjusted for inflation in today’s dollars.

“The Fourmile Canyon Fire is a heartbreaking reminder to Coloradans that the wildfire threat is very real in our state and can exact a price that is both personally devastating and costly in terms of insurance damage,” says Carole Walker, RMIIA executive director.

Dr. Tomas Girnius, senior research scientist at AIR Worldwide, said residential construction in the Boulder area is dominated by low-rise wood frame houses. The modeling company estimates that the total value of residential properties in ZIP Code 80302, which encompasses the area of the fire, is about $2.8 billion.

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