The $217 million Fourmile Canyon Fire tops the list of last year’s costliest fires in terms of property loss

Blog Post created by laurenbackstrom Employee on Nov 16, 2011

Fourmile Canyon fire truck drives past a home destroyed by the Fourmile Canyon Fire west of Boulder, Colorado, on September 11, 2010. For a description of the burn patterns and building construction on the Fourmile Canyon Fire, see "Tour of the Fourmile Canyon Fire: Questions Raised, Answers Pending," a blog posting from June 27, 2011 on NFPA's Firewise website, 

The new issue of NFPA Journal features an article by Stephen G. Badger on the "Large-Loss Fires in the United States in 2010." The Fourmile Canyon Fire was the largest of the 17 large-loss fires that occurred in the United States last year. Large-loss fires and explosions are defined as incidents that cause at least $10 million in direct property loss.

Each year, NFPA reports on the previous year’s large-loss fires, tracking and verifying loss information reported in the media or by other sources. The 17 large-loss fires of 2010 are only those fires for which we obtained an official dollar loss. 

According to “Fire Loss in the United States During 2010” [September/October], U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,331,500 fires in 2010 that caused an estimated loss of $11.6 billion. Many of these fires were small or resulted in little or no reported property damage. However, the 17 that resulted in losses greater than $10 million each, caused a total of roughly $950 million in direct property losses. Although these fires accounted for only 0.001% of the estimated number of fires in 2010, they accounted for 5.6% of the total estimated dollar loss.

Read the NFPA Journal article detailing the report, more information on the 17 large-loss fires and their associated property damage