Official: 2021 Colorado wildfire losses top $2 billion


DENVER– A wildfire that destroyed nearly 1,100 homes and businesses in suburban Denver last winter caused more than $2 billion in losses, making it by far the costliest in Colorado’s history, said the state insurance commissioner.

Commissioner Michael Conway provided the updated estimate last week during a meeting with residents who lost homes to the so-called Marshall Fire in Boulder County and other wildfires in Colorado in recent years, the Denver Post reported Thursday.

The Boulder County Fire broke out unusually late in December after months of drought and is responsible for at least one death. Official estimates published a few days after the fire put the losses at more than 500 million dollars.

Experts say the winter prairie fire that erupted along Colorado’s Front Range was rare, but similar events will be more common in coming years as climate change warms the planet, aspires the plant moisture and suburbs develop in fire-prone areas. .

Conway said additional insurance claims and assessments of the extent of reconstruction following the wildfire prompted the new estimate. “We now estimate there will be $2 billion in claims, if not more,” he told residents last Friday.

Investigators have yet to determine what caused the Dec. 30 blaze, which was fueled by winds of up to 100 mph (160 km/h) and spread from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains eastward. is across the unincorporated county of Boulder and in the cities of Superior and Louisville. Another 149 homes and 30 businesses were damaged.

According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association, the costliest wildfire in the state was the 2020 East Troublesome Fire in Grand County, which destroyed 366 homes and caused $543 million in damage. materials. The association also says the Marshall Fire ranks 10th on a list of the nation’s costliest wildfires. This list is led by the 2018 Camp Fire in Northern California, which it claims caused $10 billion in property losses.

The camp fire killed 85 people, destroyed nearly 19,000 homes, businesses and other buildings, and virtually leveled the town of Paradise.

An analysis by the Colorado Division of Insurance found that 67% of homeowners who lost their homes in Boulder County did not have enough insurance to replace them, the newspaper reported.

In the wake of the wildfire, lawmakers passed several bills bolstering firefighting resources and fire mitigation planning which, due to climate change and the mega-drought of the West, have become a year-round threat in Colorado.

ABC News

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