USA — It is official: the state’s 2012 wildfire season was a doozy, with record insured losses, and the evacuation of 32,000 residents in the northwestern quadrant of Colorado Springs where 347 homes were destroyed in the Waldo Canyon Fire, the largest number in state history.
“Colorado fire departments reported 4,167 wildland fires through the National Fire Reporting System. These fires destroyed more than 648 structures, killed six civilians, burned more than 384,803 acres and have caused at least $538 million in property losses,” according to a preliminary report on the season by the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.
Preliminary estimates for insured losses total $449.7 million for claims ranging from smoke damage to destroyed homes and the loss of personal belongings and vehicles, according to the report by the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.
A total of 16 fires qualified for $48.1 million from an emergency fire fund that is funded by 43 counties and the Denver Water Board.
Five wildfires the Lower North Fork, High Park, Weber, Waldo Canyon, and Wetmore qualify for $25 million in reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The 2002 Hayman Fire, which scorched 137,760 acres, killed five, injured 16 and destroyed 133 homes, still ranks as the largest fire in state history, according to the report.
The High Park Fire in Larimer County last June burned 87,284 acres, killed one person and destroyed 259 homes, and is now the second largest blaze in state history.