This year so far, nearly 1.6 million hectares have been blackened by wildfires, above a 10-year average of 1.5 million hectares over the same period, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
A firefighter from the city of Redding was killed as a result of the Carr Fire, California officials said in a statement Friday. Cal Fire said the blaze began Monday afternoon and was caused by "mechanical failure of vehicle", although the agency did not elaborate. No other details were provided.
In Southern California, thousands remained evacuated as a suspected arson wildfire burned in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles.
Warm air further dries out the land and provides blazes with more fuel, though gusty winds are hugely important contributors - if not the most important factor.
There have now been three fire-related deaths in the state in recent weeks. It's already destroyed 65 buildings and claimed the lives of two people who were battling the blaze.
In the Sierra Nevada, famed Yosemite National Park closed Wednesday as smoke from a fire to the west cast a pall on the region.
Authorities say it is now almost 72 square miles (186 square kilometers), but containment has increased to 29 percent. Another shelter has been set up at an elementary school.
Residents in Redding where several homes were destroyed say they had to scramble to escape the blaze. "Reports on KRCR-TV, the ABC affiliate in Redding, confirm parts of the city are without power in an effort to prevent electrical equipment from sparking more fires".
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The blaze grew overnight to 70 square miles (180 square kilometers).
The Carr Fire turned deadly with the announcement by CAL FIRE early Friday that a contract dozer operator was killed while fighting the fire. The fire is now more than 5,000 acres.
Firefighters have been working to reinforce containment lines, but estimated containment actually dipped own from 10% to 6% between Thursday morning and evening. Some civilians also have been injured.
Mike Mangas, a spokesman at Mercy Medical Center, said the hospital was evacuating five babies in its neonatal intensive care unit, which cares for premature newborns, and taking them to medical facilities outside of the area.
Walls of flames are quickly ripping the Northern California city of Redding, where an "out of control" fire has killed one person and is forcing thousands of residents out of their homes.
The blaze has burned dozens of homes in the communities of Shasta, Keswick and the west side of Redding.
Residents in the western part of Redding who had not been under evacuation orders were caught off guard and had to flee with little notice.