BOULDER, Colo, (KDVR) — A combination of location and Colorado’s high housing costs puts the Marshall Fire into the conversation about the most expensive fires in United States history.
Officials have confirmed that the Marshall Fire fire destroyed 991 structures and damaged at least 100 more. Most of the destroyed homes were near wildland.
The fire damaged or destroyed between $819 million and $1.6 billion worth of homes alone, not including the valuations of the businesses, according to a FOX31 Data Desk neighborhood-by-neighborhood analysis of Zillow home market value estimates.
This puts the Marshall Fire near the top of the list of national “large-loss fires,” or fires that damage more than $10 million.
The damage reached these levels owing to the location between wildlife and urban areas. Firefighters refer to these areas, in which residential development butts against wildland, as Wildland Urban Interface areas, or WUIs. Several of the most destructive fires in the last decade, including the Cameron Peak Fire, have been in designated WUIs.
The locations of Superior and Louisville alongside wildland puts them in the same class.
Colorado’s housing expense also meant that all the homes in the area were highly valued. Homes in Superior and Louisville have an average market value of $827,000 and $831,000, respectively.
This puts the Marshall Fire tied at the No. 10 spot of large-loss fires.
According to 2018 records, the $1.6 billion upper estimate places the Marshall Fire along with the California Valley Fire of 2015 and the Great Boston Fire of 1872 in terms of dollars of destroyed property.