The most destructive wildfires in American history
The Insurance Information Institute has ranked the most costly wildland fires in America. According to its data, seven of the most destructive wildfires in California caused insured losses in excess of $1.5 billion.
- Camp Fire 2018, 2018: The total damages caused by the most destructive U.S. wildfire ever is estimated at $10 billion. This value will rise to $10.38 billion in 2020.
- Tubbs Fire 2017, 2017: Tubbs Fire incurred $8.7 Billion in insured losses, or approximately $9.23 Billion by 2020 value.
- Woolsey Fire 2018, 2018: Woolsey Fire lost $4.2 billion, or $4.36million with inflation.
- Oakland Fire (Tunnel), 1991 – This wildfire that erupted in the early 1990s resulted in losses of $1.7 Billion, or $3.24 Billion if you add 2020 inflation.
- Atlas Fire, 2017,: The Atlas Fire caused approximately $3 billion of damage, which would amount to $3.18 billion by 2020.
- Glass Fire 2020: It cost approximately $2.9 billion to create the Glass Fire.
- CZU Lighting Complex Fire, 2020: CZU Lightning complex Fire caused $2.43 Billion in insured losses.
Statistics on wildfires in the United States
According to the Federation of American Scientists, ” There are more wildfires in the East (including the Central States), however, wildfires in West are more severe and cover more land (including Alaska, Arizona and California, Colorado, Idaho and Montana, New Mexico and Nevada), according to FAS.
California, for example, was among the most affected states in 2020 in terms of wildfires. It had 9,279 fires and 4,197,628 acres of burned land, 10,488 destroyed structures, and at least 31 deaths. (iii).
According to the NIFC, wildfires continue to cause damage to properties and to burn through millions upon millions of acres every year. 2020 will see more wildfires and acres being burned than ever before.
- 2020: 58,950 fires affecting 10,122,336 acres
- 2019: 50,477 fires affecting 4,664,364 acres
- 2018: 58,083 fires affecting 8,767,492 acres
Wildfires: Areas burned
Although records were not started until 1983, the National Interagency Fire Center provides year-over-year data on U.S. wildfires.
What is the US spending to stop wildfires?
The National Interagency Fire Center provides data on annual suppression cost for U.S wildfires. The Forest Service spends almost $2 billion on five-year average, while DOI agencies pay more than $453 millions. The total cost to suppress these fires over the ten years is $1.91 billion. This is a sign that costs are rising. 2020, which cost $2.274 billion was the most expensive since 2018, when it reached $3.143 billion.
California wildfire statistics
California is a leader in wildfires. CAL FIRE and its partners offer many statistics about the 2020 U.S. wildfire seasons. From a total 9,917 incidents, California saw 4,257.863 acres burnt in 2020. These wildfires resulted in 33 deaths (a little higher than the iii estimate). California wildfires also destroyed or damaged 10,488 structures.
More than 123,800 acres were burned in just two of the biggest California fires of 2020, the Glass Fire or Zogg Fire. Napa, Sonoma and Shasta were among the most beloved and loved areas of California. Many of California’s most wealthy communities, in San Bernardino County and Riverside Counties, were affected by September’s El Dorado Fire.
Wildfire dangers in the most dangerous states
California is the most vulnerable state to wildfires in America, with almost triple the amount of properties at risk in 2020 than the second-highest. California, however, had more than two millions of at-risk properties than Texas.
- California: 2,054,900
- Texas: 717 800
- Colorado: 373,900
- Arizona: 242,200
- Idaho: 175,000
These are the most at-risk states in America for wildfire, based on the amount of properties that are at high risk.
Insurance and wildfires
The average homeowner insurance policy covers your home and personal property, in the event of a wildfire. Renters, condo, manufactured, or mobile home insurance policies should be reviewed to ensure that they provide adequate coverage in the event of a wildfire.
You could lose coverage if you are located in an high-risk region for wildfires such as California. The California FAIR Plan offers basic coverage to high-risk customers who are often unable to find standard home insurance. Due to the increased risk providers faced, it was estimated that 350,000 California homeowners and businesses could not obtain adequate property and casualty coverage after a record-breaking year of wildfires. For homeowners who wanted to fulfill mortgage requirements for home insurance, there were significant problems.
Wildfires and their costs
Wildfire season is estimated to cost insurance companies $7 billion to $13 billion. Accuweather estimates that wildfire related damages resulted in $400 billion in total losses. Although not as expensive, the economic loss from California wildfires in 2017-2018 was still significant at $85 million.
An analysis of the 2018 Camp Fire shows shocking facts and estimates:
- Total 2019 claims resulting from the Camp Fire: More than $12 billion
- More than $400 billion in economic and total damage
- Estimated total insured losses between $8.5 and $10.5 billion
- Toxic debris and Removal : Nearly $2 billion
- Victim assistance: $200 million
It is a smart idea to shop around for the best home insurance policy if you live in an area that is at high risk of wildfires.