Black Forest Fire One Year Update: $420.5M in Insured Losses

The Black Forest community in El Paso County has spent the past year working through the recovery process in the aftermath of Colorado’s most devastating wildfire in terms of structures lost.

RMIIA has updated insurance damage estimates from the Black Forest Fire, and the insured losses are now estimated at $420.5 million resulting from approximately 4,173 auto and homeowners claims. That is about a $128 million dollar increase from the preliminary damage estimate of $292.8 million—estimated in the initial weeks after the fire—and still ranks the Black Forest Fire as the state’s second most costly wildfire.


What Causes Wildfires? People, Brush and More

The Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs is the state’s most expensive wildfire 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.

The Waldo Canyon Fire for now remains Colorado’s most expensive wildfire. 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 (6,648) is also considerably higher compared to the Black Forest Fire (4,173).

Colorado Wildfire Insurance Costs

Year Fire Insured Loss
($ Millions)
2013 Dollars
($ Millions)*
2012 Waldo Canyon, Colorado Springs $453.7 $460.3
2013 Black Forest, near Colorado Springs $420.5 $420.5
2012 High Park, near Fort Collins $113.7 $115.3
2010 Fourmile Canyon, northwest of Boulder $217.0 $231.8
2002 Hayman, southwest of Denver $38.7 $50.1
2002 Missionary Ridge, near Durango $17.7 $22.9
2002 Coal Seam, Glenwood Springs $6.4 $8.3
2002 Iron Mountain, near Cañon City $7.5 $9.7

*2013 estimated cost calculations based on the Consumer Price Index.

Source: The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association