Governor Jerry Brown declared the state of emergency on Monday, which will enable officials to receive more state resources to fight the fire and for recovery.
Mr Brown said: “Under the provisions of Government Code, I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exists in Lake County due to this fire.
“Now, I therefore I, the Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the State Constitution and statutes, including the California Emergency Services Act, I hereby proclaim a state of emergency to exist in Lake County due to the Pawnee Fire.”
The Pawnee fire has grown to cover 8,200 acres and has caused mass evacuations.
The fire broke out on Saturday evening, forcing 3,000 residents from their homes and destroyed at least 22 buildings.
It is the latest devastating blaze to rip through the impoverished county of just 65,000 people in the last few years.
Elected supervisor Jim Steele said the county is impoverished and its firefighting equipment antiquated.
He added the county has just a few roads in and out of the region which could hinder response time.
Mr Steele said the area has been susceptible to fire for many decades because of dense bush and trees.
But the severity of the latest blaze is unexpected.
Mr Steele said: “What’s happened with the more warming climate is we get low humidity and higher winds and then when we get a fire that’s worse than it’s been in those 50 years.”
Severe drought has already forced officials in several western states to close national parks as precautions against wildfires and issue warnings across the region to prepare for the worst.
California officials said the unusually hot weather along with high winds and highly flammable vegetation are the same conditions that led to the state’s deadliest destructive fire in 2017.
In 2015, a series of fires destroyed 2,000 buildings and killed four people.
The following year an arsonist started a fire which wiped out 300 buildings.