Firefighters in southern California were also looking at the weather for help, but fearing it could also make things worse. Hurricane Jimena, headed for Mexico's Baja California, wasn't expected to reach the fires. But there was a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms in the area. While the increase in humidity would help tamp down flames, lightning strikes and high winds could be a deadly combination.
In Auburn, Calif., at least 60 structures have been destroyed by the fire, leaving hundreds of residents homeless.
"It feels like your heart's being pulled out," one woman said, looking over the devastation. "I mean, those are your lives."
Auburn resident Tim Meyers' house was spared by the flames, but his neighbors were not so lucky.
"I'm very thankful that ours is still standing, but I'm devastated for my neighbors," Meyers told "Good Morning America."
His wife, he said, is still "in chaos" and will not be moving back into the house that stands alone on his block. "You can't live in an area that looks like a war zone," he said.
The two firefighters killed in the state's biggest fire Sunday were trying to save an inmate fire-crew camp on Mount Gleason, the Associated Press reported.
Firefighters Capt. Ted Hall and Spc. Arnie Quinones were in a campsite with 55 inmates, several correctional officers and fire personnel when the flames tore into the camp. The firefighters moved everyone into the dining hall as the rest of the camp was flattened by the fire, the AP said.
Knowing the building was only temporary shelter, Hall and Quinones braved the flames and got in their firetruck to find a way out. At some point in their frantic search, the truck slipped off the blacktop and rolled 800 feet down the mountainside, landing upside down. Soon, the spreading fire overtook the downed vehicle.
"It hits home," Los Angeles Fire Capt. Sam Padilla told the AP. "This morning, my daughter hugged me a little tighter than usual."
Terry Thornton, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said, "They were selfless. They put others' safety ahead of their own."
A memorial service is scheduled for later this week at the firefighters' staging camp.
The White House issued a statement Monday that said, "The president and first lady send their deepest condolences to the friends and families of these two lost heroes."
Eighteen other firefighters have been injured, the governor's office reported Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report