The Carr Fire was one of eight large wildfires burning in the state and 93 burning in the United States, mostly in the West, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Seventeen burglaries have been reported in evacuated neighborhoods.
Dubbed the Eel fire, it started about 3:30 p.m.in the Black Butte River Ranch area.
More than 4,200 firefighters are battling the blaze, which has scorched more than 125,800 acres (50,900 hectares) in the scenic Shasta-Trinity region.
Two people have been killed in the fire, but no houses have been damaged or destroyed, fire officials said - although about 2,800 structures are threatened.
Strong gusts kicking up along the upper ridge lines on Wednesday night were a cause for concern on the fire's rugged western flanks, a few miles from the town of Lewiston, which remained evacuated. The Ferguson Fire, which has burned 63,798 acres, is 39 percent contained. Together the fires have burned almost 95,000 acres and are 24% contained.
In the past several days, smoke from the California wildfires has stretched all the way to Oklahoma.
As of last week, the state has spent a quarter of its annual emergency budget on battling the fires.
Cal Fire spokesman Jonathan Cox said the intensity of this summer's wildfires is historic.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Wednesday that another 440 buildings including barns and warehouses have also been destroyed by the Carr Fire.
On Wednesday, Governor Jerry Brown warned Californians the threat of wildfires is now the "new normal", and said the disasters will likely get more destructive and expensive in the future. "You can expect, unfortunately, for that to intensify".
"We are making good progress on the fire", CalFire Deputy Chief Bret Gouvea told reporters at a mostly upbeat news briefing in Redding. "We're part of that process of the Mediterranean climate that is being impacted by the changing weather".