Damage from Waldo Canyon, High Park fires estimated at $450 million

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A July 2, 2012 tour of the Waldo Canyon Fire area.

A July 2, 2012 tour of the Waldo Canyon Fire area.

The 2012 wildfire season is now the most expensive in Colorado history, according to a report that states the insurance damage estimates from the Waldo Canyon and High Park fires alone total nearly $450 million.

Though insurance adjusters are still working with residents and some claims are yet to be completely filed, the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association said the preliminary damage estimate for both fires is $449.7 million. That estimate does not include commercial losses.

The association said insurance claims have included everything from destroyed homes to smoke damage to additional living expenses to the loss of personal belongings and vehicles.

The Waldo Canyon Fire in El Paso County became the most expensive wildfire in state history, with the association reporting an estimate of more than $352.6 million in damages coming from approximately 4,300 insurance claims. There were 346 homes destroyed in the blaze.

The next most expensive fire in state history is the Fourmile Canyon Fire of 2010, which totaled an estimated $224 million in damages when adjusted for the inflation of today’s dollar.

Damages from the High Park Fire, which destroyed 259 homes, resulted in 850 insurance claims, with an estimated cost of $97.1 million, according to the association.

“The 2012 wildfire season is a heartbreaking reminder to Coloradans that the wildfire threat is very real in our state,” Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, said. “Insurance catastrophe adjusters have been on the ground since early June, and the industry is prepared to help impacted residents recover and communities rebuild”