The blaze has left residents fleeing for their lives as flames burn buildings and knock out power, fire officials said.
Over almost two weeks, flames have churned through 60 square miles of timber in steep terrain of the Sierra Nevada just west of the park.
One person died, a private hire bulldozer operator, and three firefighters have been injured.
The fire burned over the operator and his equipment, making the man the second bulldozer operator killed in a California blaze in less than two weeks.
The blaze has crossed the Sacramento River and now threatens hundreds of homes on the western fringes of the city of Redding. "There have been some injuries to civilians and firefighters", California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) spokesman Scott McLean told the Sacramento Bee newspaper.
"Right now we are being evacuated, that's why we are kind of closing out right now", said news anchor Allison Woods during a live broadcast.
McLean says the situation is "very dynamic" and that it's "a heck of a fight".
"Right now they're doing what they can, they're trying to make a stand where they can, if possible", McLean said.
Here's what we know about the Cranston fire including how it started and how much of the inferno is contained.
The fire burning west of Redding, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) south of the OR state line, tripled in size overnight and then grew another 50 percent through the day to 45 square miles (115 square kilometers).More news: Pompeo seeks to reassure lawmakers on Russian Federation amid bipartisan backlash
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Earlier in the day, with flames exploding around Whiskeytown Lake, people tried to save boats at a marina by untying them from moorings and pushing them to safety.
Dozens of charred, twisted and melted boats were among the losses at Oak Bottom Marina. By 4 p.m., the fire had grown to about 1,200 acres and was zero percent contained, the U.S. Forest Service reports.
In response to the growing blaze, California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Riverside and Shasta counties.
The wildfires have dispatched firefighters to all corners of the state amid an oppressive heat wave.
Officials from the San Bernardino National Forest told residents on Thursday the fire would cause closures for several campgrounds and picnic areas as well.
Firefighters were CAL Fire and USFS were battling the blaze.
The blaze in the San Jacinto Mountains erupted Wednesday and quickly turned into a wall of flame that torched timber and tinder-dry brush. In a matter of hours, the so-called Cranston Fire grew to 7.5 square miles (19 square kilometers).
The fire, which is about 5 miles southwest of Palm Springs, has led to the evacuation of the entire town of Idyllwild and several other communities.
A firefighter with the Redding Fire Department was killed in Shasta County, officials said Friday.
Videos from the scene show multiple homes in flames, and forest officials said at least five residences have been destroyed.