The pattern was expected to begin breaking up Friday afternoon, rapidly cooling over the weekend and there even could be a chance of rain in the fire area on Sunday, the meteorologist said.
The fire erupted during morning rush hour along U.S. 101 in the Camarillo area about 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles, and winds pushed it down slopes toward subdivisions, soon forcing evacuations of residents in Camarillo and Thousand Oaks.
Marie Turner, 45, was among the displaced at an evacuation center in Thousand Oaks as flames skirted the home her family moved into from Texas less than a year ago. She said in a phone interview she had given little thought to wildfires and worried about an entirely different kind of California threat.
"I'd always heard about earthquakes, it was a big fear of mine before we moved here," said Turner.
She said she was frightened but didn't regret the move.
"I'm very positive about being here, and we're trying to make the most of it," said Turner.
The smoke-choked campus of California State University, Channel Islands was evacuated, and classes were canceled through Friday. The school has about 5,000 students, though only a fraction live on campus.
About 100 miles to the east in Riverside County, two homes were destroyed, two more were damaged and 11 vehicles were destroyed in a 12-acre fire Thursday that fire officials suspect was started by a discarded cigarette.
Elsewhere in the county, a 4 1/2-square-mile blaze that destroyed a home burned for a third day in mountains north of Banning. It was 65 percent contained.
In Northern California's Tehama County, a wildfire north of Butte Meadows grew overnight although an estimate of its size was revised down from more than 15 square miles to 10 square miles, state fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said.
The fire was 10 percent contained. It's burning in a remote area and is not posing an imminent threat to any structures.
Elsewhere, crews expected to fully contain a 125-acre blaze in Sonoma County and a 200-acre fire in Glenn County on Friday.
Containment of a 55-acre fire in Butte County was expected this weekend.