Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Claims in Black Forest fire reach almost $300 million; Waldo still trumps in costs

By Jakob Rodgers Updated: July 16, 2013 at 7:09 am 0

Black Forest residents filed nearly $300 million in insurance claims since the Black Forest fire ignited in June, making it the state's second-most expensive wildfire in history.

The figure, which was announced Monday by the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, offers a more detailed snapshot of the cost of the blaze, which destroyed 486 homes and blackened more than 14,280 acres in north El Paso County.

The estimate also falls in line with an emerging theme - that despite burning more homes, the Black Forest fire continues to be less costly than last year's Waldo Canyon fire.

More claims were filed in the weeks after last year's blaze than after the Black Forest fire, and the damages in 2012 exceeded those so far from this year.

After staying on national forest land for three days, the Waldo Canyon fire blew into Colorado Springs on June 26 and destroyed 347 homes while killing two people. In June, the association counted 6,648 claims for that blaze, tallying costs at $453.7 million.

By comparison, the Black Forest fire destroyed 486 homes and killed two people, while also blackening thousands of acres of heavily wooded private property. The totals made it the state's most destructive blaze on record.

Still, Black Forest residents have filed fewer homeowner and automotive claims - 3,630 so far - totalling $292.8 million.

The difference between fires may lie in the types of properties and neighborhoods that burned, said Carole Walker, the association's executive director.

The Black Forest fire raged through a rural landscape that featured a diverse array of properties, the association said in a statement.

The Waldo Canyon fire devastated a densely populated urban neighborhood, leading to an increased number of claims, she said.

Check back to gazette.com for updates to this story.

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