The so-called Erskine fire broke out on Thursday 64km northeast of Bakersfield in Kern County and has already claimed at least two lives, sent three firefighters to hospital and forced thousands to evacuate homes.
More than 1,100 firefighters have been deployed to battle the blaze, which has blackened some 35,700 acres.
“It is a vicious wildfire. We are going to be committed to this for some time,” Captain Tyler Townsend of the Kern County Fire Department told CNN.
“A lot of communities are still in danger.”
Crews were working in steep, rugged terrain, fighting flames fueled by hot, dry weather and brush and grass left bone dry by California’s five-year drought.
The Los Angeles Times reported that investigators had found what they believed to be the remains of a third victim at a mobile home in the community of South Lake.