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Fort McMurray wildfire to become one of Canada's costliest insured events

A raging wildfire in and around the city of Fort McMurray,Alberta, is expected to become one of the costliest natural disasters forinsurers in Canada.

The Horse Creek Fire has destroyed more than 1,600 homes andstructures as of preliminary reports from late May 4, according to AonBenfield's Impact Forecasting. All 88,000 residents of Fort McMurray wereevacuated, and no fatalities or injuries directly linked to the fire have beenreported. In addition to the mandatoryevacuation of all of Fort McMurray, additional areas, including some being usedas evacuation sites, were put under a mandatory evacuation late May 4,according to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

The fire also led to production halts at multiple oilfacilities, many of which are housing evacuees, but no damage to the facilitieswas reported. The fire remains out ofcontrol as of early May 5, according to the Alberta Agriculture and Forestryoffice.

The fire is expected to result in more insured losses thanthe 2011 Slave Lake Fire, which saw more than C$700 million in insured losses,and could exceed the more than C$1 billion in insured losses caused by theAlberta floods of 2013, according to Impact Forecasting. The average home pricein Fort McMurray is higher than in Slave Lake, with the average cost of asingle-family home of C$627,150.