Today's LAT devotes a story — and three bylines — to casting doubt on the claims of a million fire evacuations that the paper reported earlier. For one thing, many people told to go stayed put. For another thing, nobody counts. For another, the traffic didn't appear to add up to anything close to a million people on the move.
Despite widespread estimates that as many as 1 million evacuees fled Southern California's wildfires, the number of people displaced from their homes at any one time appears to have been substantially lower....
Numerous news organizations, including The Times, had estimated the total number evacuated at more than 800,000, with many outlets placing the number displaced at 1 million. Some San Diego officials have made the comparison to the Gulf Coast's mass evacuation when Hurricane Katrina struck two years ago, when 1.2 million left Greater New Orleans ahead of the approaching storm, according to a study by Louisiana State University.
"We've evacuated more people than were evacuated in Katrina," San Diego County Sheriff Bill Kolender said Wednesday.
That statement now seems imprecise.
Ya think? Evacuees did spread out as far as Las Vegas, but even in San Diego only 27,000 checked in at the public shelters, including Qualcomm Stadium. There are about 10,000 hotel rooms in the San Diego area.