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Colorado wildfire insured losses pegged at about $1 billion


Insured losses from the Marshall fire in Colorado will be around $1 billion, Boston-based catastrophe modeler Karen Clark & Co. said Wednesday.

The fire, which started Dec. 30 off state highway 93 and Marshall Road in unincorporated Boulder County was contained after the area received 10 inches of snow on Dec. 31.

Nearly 1,000 structures were destroyed in the fast-spreading fire, including hundreds of homes,  a shopping center and a hotel, KCC said in a statement.

The fire burned approximately 6,000 acres and devastated entire subdivisions in the towns of Louisville and Superior.  Most of the damage occurred in Louisville, a suburb about 20 miles northwest of Denver.

Current damage totals by location are: Louisville: 553 structures destroyed, 45 damaged; Superior 332 destroyed, 60 damaged; unincorporated Boulder County 106 destroyed, 22 damaged.

While the exact cause is under investigation, months of unusually warm and dry weather along the Colorado Front Range primed the area for the fire, while an intense downslope wind event assisted its fast rate of spread, KCC said.

The Marshall fire is now the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history, according to KCC’s analysis. The East Troublesome fire of October 2020, which destroyed more than 500 structures and cost nearly $500 million in insured losses, previously ranked as the most destructive.

KCC’s estimate is based on its high-resolution U.S. wildfire reference model.