Wildfire Task Force

Over the past 25 years, wildfires have caused more than $10 billion (in today’s dollars) in insured property losses in the United States, with the majority of losses occurring in the western United States. Losses from wildfires have been increasing as urban expansion continues to penetrate into the previously undeveloped forest, chaparral, and grasslands, areas at high risk of wildfire. Nearly 40 percent of new home development in the western United States is occurring in this “Wildland Urban Interface” (WUI), putting more insured property at risk every year. Wildfire losses arise under a variety of causes.  Typically, these wildfires are considered natural disasters, or events caused by human intervention through individuals with no means of providing payment for the extensive damages caused by their intentional or careless conduct. However, the causes of some of these wildfires create opportunities for subrogation recovery, including fires involving electrical distribution lines, controlled burns, faulty equipment, or other scenarios where a potential defendant with large financial means may be responsible for causing the fire.

The Wildfire Task Force within Cozen O’Connor is made up of attorneys who are experienced knowledgeable in handling catastrophic wildfire losses. The members of the Wildfire Task Force are experienced in working with the appropriate experts and handling and managing the unique issues that arise with these large catastrophic losses. The attorneys have handled wildfire losses in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Montana, Colorado, Texas, and Washington. Cozen O’Connor attorneys have recovered in excess of $180 million for insurers from wildfires in the western United States. The task force members are familiar with the groundwork and legal work necessary to develop and pursue these complex and diverse subrogation claims. The Wildfire Task Force maintains a database of experts qualified in wildfire investigation, spread, and ignition sources, as well as experts in the field of utility distribution and transmission lines, metallurgy, and other engineering practices necessary to document and establish a wildfire claim.  

A sampling of some of the wildfires attorneys from the task force have been involved with include:

Arizona

  • Wallow
  • Monument
  • Horseshoe Two

California

  • Malibu
  • Grass Valley
  • Witch
  • Rice Canyon
  • Happy Camp
  • Sayre
  • Sesnon
  • Jesusita

Colorado

  • Overland Road 100
  • Valentine
  • Lower North Fork
  • Crystal
  • Hartsong
  • Woodland Heights

Montana

  • Bucksnort

Nevada

  • Caughlin
  • Washoe

New Mexico

  • Las Conchas

Texas

  • Possum Kingdom
  • Hohertz
  • 101 Ranch
  • Bastrop
  • Steiner Ranch
  • Spice Wood

Utah

  • New Harmony
  • Wood Hollow

Publications

California Wildfire Alert - Mill Fire and Fairview Fire [Alert]

September 07, 2022

Over the course of the weekend, California incurred a number of wildfires. Some were attributed to natural causes, however, the Mill Fire and Fairview Fire appear to have been caused by human activity and we are actively investigating both fires for recovery potential.

Wildfire Alert 2022 McKinney Fire, 2021 South Fire

August 25, 2022

Howard Maycon, Kevin Bush, and David Brisco provide an update on the subrogation potential from the 2022 McKinney Fire and the 2021 South Fire.

New Mexico Burning – A Raging Start to Wildfire Season [Alert]

May 05, 2022

Fifteen wildfires have occurred since early April.

Tennessee Wildfires UPDATED [Alert]

April 05, 2022

Mark Opalisky, Suzanne Radcliff, and David Brisco discuss the Hatcher Mountain/Indigo Lane Fire, Millstone Gap/Seymour Fire, Cold Springs Fire, and Wears Valley Fire that swept through eastern Tennessee on March 30 and 31.

Eastland Complex Wildfires Alert

March 23, 2022

Suzanne Radcliff, Steve Halbeisen, and David Brisco discuss the Eastland Complex Wildfires affecting the 76448, 76454, 76435, 76471, 76470, 76470, 76448, 76444, and 76445 zip codes.

The Marshall Fire – Colorado’s Most Destructive Fire

December 31, 2021

Cheri MacArthur discusses the Marshall Fire in Boulder County and potential subrogation possibilities that may arise when investigating the cause.

Five Mile Swamp Fire [Alert]

May 15, 2020

Joe Rich discusses the Five Mile Swamp Fire, including location, property impacted, and it's status.

Update on California Fires [Alert]

November 12, 2018

Howard Maycon, Kevin Bush, David Brisco, Phil Berens, Tom Regan and Peter Lynch provide an update on the Woolsey, Hill, and Camp fires in California.

California Fire Alert

November 09, 2018

Howard Maycon, Kevin Bush, David Brisco, Mark Roth, and Peter Lynch discuss the Woolsey, Hill, and Camp fires currently burning in California.

Contacts

Cheri L. MacArthur

Chair, Subrogation & Recovery, Rocky Mountain Region

cmacarthur@cozen.com

(720) 479-3939

David D. Brisco

Member

dbrisco@cozen.com

(619) 685-1704

People

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