tim222 - 6:41 pm on Oct 25, 2007 (gmt 0)
Bill, it could be a coincidence. According to Wikipedia, there are around 24 million people living in Southern California. So the 500,000 displaced only represent around 2% of the population. Meanwhile, some of the remaining 98% might decide to stay at home rather than go out and face closed roads and heavier traffic due to the fires. For example, major portions of the Angeles National Forest are closed due to fire danger. Pacific Coast Highway was closed for a short time as well. So it's possible that people who would have gone to places like that might opt to stay at home instead.