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Carr wildfire now 6th most destructive, surpasses 2017’s Thomas & Nuns


The Carr wildfire continues to burn and expand in Shasta County, California and the number of structures destroyed by the fire has now reached 1,378, making the Carr fire now the sixth most destructive on record in the state, with hot and dry weather making further damage likely.

Carr wildfire damage image via BBC and AP

Carr wildfire damage image via BBC and AP

The Carr wildfire has aggressively continued to burn, as the hot and dry conditions continue in California and strong winds help the flames to expand the burn area and Red Flag Warnings continue to be raised meaning further expansion of the Carr fire is possible.

Based on the number of structures destroyed, the Carr wildfire has now surpassed both the Thomas and Nuns wildfires of 2017, becoming the sixth most destructive on record in the state of California.

The Thomas wildfire alone was estimated to have caused somewhere up to $2.5 billion of insurance and reinsurance industry losses and its impacts affected aggregate contracts, including some private ILS and catastrophe bonds. The California Department of Insurance has the insurance and reinsurance industry losses in Ventura county alone as over $1.5 billion.

The Nuns fire was estimated to have caused close to one billion dollars of insurance and reinsurance losses as well.

The still burning Carr wildfire has now destroyed almost 1,000 residential properties, 16 commercial properties and the rest being farm buildings, outbuildings and the like (which can often be insured still).

These numbers are expected to go up given the Carr wildfire has now consumed almost 113,000 acres of land and remains only 30% contained at this time.

The percentage of the wildfire that has been contained is rising steadily, but with Red Flag Warnings in place for continued difficult weather conditions it is expected that more structures will be destroyed over the coming days.

As well as the 1,378 structures completely destroyed, another 178 residential properties, 6 commercial structures and 60 outbuildings have been damaged.

Also the California fire service said that another 2,546 structures remain under threat from the Carr wildfire.

It will be some time until the eventual industry loss from the Carr wildfire is understood, but having leapt up to sixth place in the most destructive fires list there is a chance the industry loss is comparable with previous fires such as the Thomas wildfire of last year.

With the burn likely to continue the chances of a multi-billion dollar loss increase all the time, but perhaps more worryingly for insurance, reinsurance and ILS interests it is the early stage in the California fires season that might suggest another impactful year is ahead from the wildfire peril.

Additionally, in Australia tinder dry conditions are worrying fire services and there is the potential for burns to begin to threaten properties in areas of New South Wales, adding to the concerns for re/insurers and any exposed ILS funds.

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