The Dixie fire has already engulfed an area larger than the size of New York City.
It’s the largest current wildland blaze in the United States, and the third-largest in recorded California history, according to the state Department of Fire and Forestry Protection.
Now spanning an area of 679 sq miles it’s just 21 per cent contained as of Saturday.
However, despite the threat to people’s lives and property, there is fierce resistance among some residents, who are rejecting orders to leave for their own safety.
Greg Hagwood, a Plumas County supervisor, told the LA Times that there have been tense scenes in small mountain towns including Greenville.
He said that law enforcement officials “are met with people who have guns and [are] saying, ‘Get off my property, and you are not telling me to leave’.”
Those choosing to risk their lives and stay home are being asked to provide next-of-kin details to inform relatives should they later be found dead.
Smoke from multiple fires is blanketing central California and western Nevada, causing air quality to deteriorate to very unhealthy levels.
Air quality advisories have been extended through the San Joaquin Valley and as far west as the San Francisco Bay Area, where residents were urged to keep their windows and doors shut.
The Dixie Fire and its neighboring fires – within a couple hundred miles of each other – pose an ongoing threat, warn officials.
Near Klamath National Forest, firefighters have been keeping an eagle eye on the path of the Antelope Fire, which has thrown up flames 100 ft (30m) high.
Further northwest, some 500 homes scattered in and around Shasta-Trinity National Forest remained threatened by the Monument Fire and others by the McFarland Fire, both started by lightning storms last week, fire officials said.
About a two-hour drive south from the Dixie Fire, crews had surrounded about a third of the River Fire that broke out near the town of Colfax and destroyed nearly 90 homes and other buildings.