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The blaze, which has burned 28,763 acres, is only 6% contained, Cal Fire said.

The fire, which created at least two flaming tornados that toppled trees, shook firefighting equipment and busted truck windows, took "down everything in its path", said Scott McLean, a spokesman for Cal Fire, the state agency responsible for fighting wildfires.

Late Thursday, crews found the body of the bulldozer operator who had been hired privately to clear vegetation in the blaze's path, McLean said. The victim was a dozer operator, who has not been identified yet pending family notification.

More than 3,000 firefighters have been deployed to contain the flames, and the destruction is expected to worsen throughout the weekend as high temperatures and dry conditions inhibit efforts. The California National Guard was summoned for help, the Bee reported.

The fire has destroyed 15 structures so far and is threatening nearly 500 more in Shasta County.

Belongie said she has prepared for the worst, if flames, edged on by winds pushing flames over parched land, continue moving through Redding.

The area around the bridge was one of the locations evacuated due to the fire.

KRCR, a Redding, California, TV station and CNN affiliate, interrupted it's newscast and evacuated its facility Thursday night as the fire approached their studio.

"Really we're in a life-saving mode right now in Redding", said Jonathan Cox, battalion chief with Cal Fire. "We ask everyone to heed evacuation orders and leave promptly".

Some babies are being airlifted to hospitals in Sacramento, while others are being transferred in ambulances.

Medics and hospital staff have been affected by the fire as well.

"This fire is making a significant push into the northwestern portion of Redding", Gouvea said.

California Gov. Jerry Brown had declared a state of emergency for Riverside and Shasta counties on Thursday in response to the fire.

One person has been killed as a raging, rapidly moving wildfire threatens to consume a northern California city with a population of 90,000 people.

In the Sierra Nevada, famed Yosemite National Park closed Wednesday as smoke from a fire to the west cast a pall on the region.

"And I thought 'If it marched that far the night before, and has grown that much overnight - if it did the same thing as yesterday, then my house, and everybody else's house that I know, would be right in line with the fire'".

The Cranston Fire was the largest of at least five police believe were purposely set by a man whose auto was spotted at the starting point of the blaze in Riverside County, officials said.

The massive blaze was sparked by a malfunctioning vehicle, according to CAL FIRE.