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Hotels accommodating fire evacuees with reduced rates

  • Story Highlights
  • Shelters and hotels working to accommodate a growing number of evacuees
  • Downtown San Diego hotels offering reduced rates to evacuees
  • Airport operations and flight schedules are normal
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By Marnie Hunter
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(CNN) -- Hundreds of thousands of displaced San Diego County residents are navigating around road closures to find refuge in shelters and hotel rooms a safe distance from the wildfires encroaching on their neighborhoods.

At least 10,000 evacuees are staying at Qualcomm Stadium, home to the NFL's San Diego Chargers and the city's primary evacuation center. The Red Cross has 500 people on the ground operating in five of the area's nearly two dozen shelters and is sending more help.

Many evacuees are staying in area hotels at discounted rates. The Marriott Hotel in downtown San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter has offered fire evacuees a rate $129 per night, about 30 percent lower than their regular rates. The hotel is nearly full, a desk agent said. About 20 percent of the guests at Marriott's fully booked marina property are fire evacuees paying more than $100 under the standard $260.

Two San Diego travel companies, San Diego Concierge and Advanced Reservation Systems ((800) 434-7894), are coordinating with hotels with excess inventory to offer those rooms to evacuees at reduced rates, according to the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau. Video Watch evacuees offer thanks for generosity »

Hotel rooms are scarce, however. The county has 54,000 rooms and more than half of those were already booked with leisure and business travelers prior to the evacuation orders.

At the Paradise Point Resort and Spa on Mission Bay, 25 rooms opened up Monday night by cancellations due to the fires were quickly rebooked by evacuated families, said Larry Kaufman, the hotel's director of sales and marketing.

People were calling until 1 or 2 a.m. for rooms, which were offered to evacuees at rates well below the typical $350 and up.

Kaufman stayed in the hotel last night after evacuating from his home about 17 miles away. Downtown the air is clear, he said, but "it was like a sea of black and ash everywhere" when he returned to check on his home this morning. Fortunately, it appears to be safe from the fires. Video Watch Gov. Schwarzenegger describe the disaster »

Many state roads and surface streets in the threatened areas have been closed, complicating evacuations. The San Diego County Emergency Homepage offers a list of road closures.


Operations at the San Diego International Airport are normal and airlines are maintaining their flight schedules. The airport encourages travelers to check with their airlines for information on possible delays or cancellations.

A number of airlines, including Continental, Delta, Southwest, American and United Airlines, are allowing customers to make changes to their flight plans at some Southern California airports without penalty. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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