The wildfire that ripped through Alberta, Canada’s Fort McMurray area in June devastated homes, boreal forests, and tar sands oil production. Now that the dust has settled, another scary aspect of the fire has emerged: the cost.
All told, the Fort McMurray wildfire cost $3.6 billion in Canadian currency (that’s $2.8 billion USD), the Insurance Bureau of Canada announced on Thursday, making it the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history.
According to the bureau, the costs broke down as follows: 27,000 personal-property claims with an average claim of $81,000 each; 12,000 auto claims averaging $15,000; and more than 5,000 business claims which averaged over $250,000 (including the cost of work closures).
That’s more than double the expense of the previous most-costly-natural-disaster-in-Canadian-history, a 2013 flood in southern Alberta that cost $1.7 billion in insurance claims.
These billion-dollar disasters will be less “natural” in the future, with climate change fueling longer and more ferocious wildfire seasons.