By looking at factors not typically analyzed after a major wildfire, San Diego State University (SDSU) researchers found that the actual economic impact of the 2003 San Diego wildfires was $2.45 billion, over $2 billion more than was actually estimated.
When you really dig down into what happens after a large disaster, you find a lot of other costs. For example, Qualcomm replaced all of its air filters. “You start tallying up all these sort of smaller costs, and get to a number that surprised us. … Less than 2 percent was acutal fire suppression,” said Matt Rahn, a research director at SDSU.
Fires from 2007 probably had along the same economic impact, Rahn said.