Estimated TOTAL cost of the Camp Fire was about $422 billion

The Camp Fire, November 8, 2018
The Camp Fire, November 8, 2018. NASA (Joshua Stevens) – NASA Landsat 8.

We often publish statistics about wildfires, such as acres burned, average size, number of fires, and average size by decade. Here are some examples. Others are at an article updated February 2, 2022.

Average size of US wildfires by decadeNumber of wildfires

Bankrate has assembled more data about wildfires in an article titled U.S. Wildfire statistics.

Such as:

A study of the 2018 Camp Fire reveals staggering facts and estimations:

  • Total 2019 claims from the Camp Fire: more than $12 billion
  • Total damage and economic losses: more than $400 billion
  • Total insured losses: estimated between $8.5 to $10.5 billion
  • Toxic debris removal: nearly $2 billion
  • Victim aid: $200 million
States most at risk from wildfires

Bankrate also has wildfire data broken down for each state. It’s an interesting way to spend few minutes, perusing the numbers.

More information about the Camp Fire.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

6 thoughts on “Estimated TOTAL cost of the Camp Fire was about $422 billion”

  1. I think this is likely false. The $400B number comes from Accuweather (if you click through the Bankrate article). Since they don’t substantiate that claim in any way, I don’t think there’s reason to put much trust in it. A peer-reviewed Nature article (Economic footprint of California wildfires in 2018) estimates the total CA 2018 direct and indirect wildfire costs at $148.5B. I’m much more inclined to trust this number…

    1. The $148.5 B you mentioned from the peer-review doesn’t include long term cleanup and rebuilding with more fire-resistant structures as part of the indirect costs. For years, Headwater Economics have been doing non-biased, thorough assessments of how losses from wildfires affect communities, economically, for up to 5 years later. I believe Accuweather may have gotten their information from them. I worked for H.E. for years and it is completely plausible for the long-term estimate to be $422 B. By the way, Long-Term cleanup has to do with the environmental impacts (waterways, soil and ground contamination, etc) from when materials of structures and the items in them, burn and eventually end of up in the ecological system.

  2. Makes perfect sense to me to push out our dedicated Wildland fire workforce that prevents these events and currently costs $750M/year and instead focus on burning down everything to rebuild at $400B per large fire.

    No way we should double the pay, expand the workforce and prevent the most extreme fire events. Even if we hit $2B per year for fire salaries it would take over 200 years to cover the cost of this one fire.

    These people running the USFS/OPM/Federal Government are really top notch.

  3. Seems high.
    Bankrate, LLC is a consumer financial services company based in New York City know for attention grabbing headlines.

    Unreal assessment though.

  4. I realize there are different account systems in analyzing cost of disasters but I find it hard to believe the Camp Fire cost more than rice Hurricane Katrina.

    Hurricane Katrina (2005) $182.5 Billion


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