My wife and I live in southern California near where the wildfires are currently burning. While we are not presently in any danger (the nearest fire is roughly fifteen miles distant) we do notice the smoky air.
Yesterday, both of our mothers called from two-thousand miles away to ensure our safety. Although we explained our situation (that we are in no danger but are monitoring things) our parents concluded that we must be candy-coating the truth for them. Afterall, what they heard on their television sets over and over were words like "FIRESTORM 2007!", "ARMAGEDDON!", "INFERNO!", "More than HALF-A-MILLION evacuated!" and "It's a scene from HELL!"
So who can blame my well-intentioned but poorly-informed Mother-in-Law when she begged us to pack up everything and evacuate immediately? (Despite the fact that we would be clogging the roads unnecessarily and heading somewhere to use up resources that could be used by someone else who actually needs them.)
Call me crazy, but I think that most of 'the Media' uses hyperbole to get what they want (i.e. viewers/listeners) even if that means distorting the reality on the ground. That is why we have decided to turn off our television sets to go outside and see for ourselves.