Across the state, firefighters were battling 16 wildfires – some as small as 29 acres and as large as 68,400 acres.
Ten homes have been destroyed and 500 more are threatened near the Northern California town of Oroville.
More than 1,600 firefighters are battling the so-called Ponderosa Fire, another natural disaster striking the United States while the South battles tropical storm Harvey.
“One of the issues we ran into on this fire is there’s a lot of people who didn’t actually evacuate”, said Paul Lowenthal, a spokesman for the team of 1,600 fighting the blaze.
The so-called Ponderosa Fire has charred almost 3,600 acres (1,457 hectares), about 85 miles (135 km) north of the state capital of Sacramento, since it broke out on Tuesday, officials said.
One man has been arrested on suspicion of causing the blaze by starting a campfire outside a designated area and allowing it to spread out of control.
Despite that, communities north of the Middle Fork have been ordered to evacuate, including Berry Creek, Brush Creek and Mountain House, including Oro Quincy Highway from Foreman Creek north to Mountain House and all tributaries to include Bald Rock Road.
Oroville resident John Ballenger will appear in court on Friday.
He added it was hoped firefighters could make good progress Wednesday on the Ponderosa Fire so “we won’t have to increase anymore warnings or orders and hopefully at some point we can start talking about repopulation and getting folks back in their homes”.
Elsewhere, firefighters were scrambling to get a handle on a massive wildfire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
The fire sparked Tuesday afternoon as a heatwave blankets much of California.
The latest wildfire is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Oroville Dam, the nation’s tallest.