Catastrophe risk modeller Karen Clark & Company (KCC) has estimated that the insured property losses from the Lahaina Fire will be around $3.2 billion, with more than 2,200 structures damaged or destroyed.
KCC estimates that in total more than 3,000 structures were impacted by the fire, with approximately 2,170 acres burned, making it the most destructive wildfire in Hawaii’s history.
The risk modeller confirms that the majority of damaged structures were residential buildings, with many commercial buildings also damaged.
KCC says that a high proportion of wood frames and older construction in the region’s building inventory likely contributed to the high damageability rates.
According to local authorities, 85% of the fire was contained as of 10pm local time on Monday, August 14th. No further fire spread has been forecasted.
KCC said recently that for Hawaii, the total insured loss will likely be “second only to Hurricane Iniki based on today’s property value.”
Latest reports state that 106 people have died from the fire, with at least 100 people missing, and at least 11,000 people have been displaced.
The wildfire started on August 8th, emerging near the historic town of Lahaina in Maui. KCC notes that it spread quickly due to high winds caused by a strong pressure gradient between a high-pressure system to the north and Hurricane Dora passing to the south. Wind gusts as high as 67 mph were recorded on the island of Maui during the event, interacting with Maui terrain to produce strong downslope winds.
The weather conditions in Maui, including low humidity and drought, accelerated the Lahaina fire, says KCC. Parts of Maui had been under moderate to severe drought pre-fire and humidity was unusually low at 11%. Maui has had below-average precipitation through the spring and summer contributing to drought conditions, explains the risk modeller.