Kiwi compares charred California to Hiroshima destruction

The raging fires may have slowed to a crawl, but conditions are no easier for crews on the ground battling the wild fires in California.

The relentless efforts of firefighters both on the ground, and in the air, weren't enough to save thousands of homes.

The number of acres burned in just a week almost equal to the amount usually left charred over a 10 month period. 

"So it's a fire season in a week, resources are stretched pretty thin but the crews are still in good spirits," California Fire spokesman Jordan Motta says.

Tense moments have also been captured on police body cameras showing a sheriff driving through the fire, and warning residents to run from the unforgiving blaze. 

The flames were shocking but the damage left behind is even more sobering.

New Zealander Robett Hollis has seen it first-hand. 

"We just got here with a whole bunch of supplies and this is what we came to, total destruction," he said.

His brother-in-law lives in one of the worst hit areas of Sonoma County. 

Mr Hollis says the raging inferno barely missed his relative's home.

"Basically totally fine houses in one street, totally demolished and nothing burnt to the ground on the other, it was probably one of the most surreal things I've ever seen in my life," he says.

His brother-in-law is also a firefighter, and has been helping local residents.

"They're in there with shovels trying to find anything they could there wasn't any piece of foundation left standing, cars were literally melted into the ground," he adds.

He believes there's no doubt the death toll will continue to rise. 

"The closest thing I think it would even compare to would be looking at those photos of Hiroshima, it's that bad," he says.

It's not yet known what sparked the raging fires, but judging by the immense destruction it could be years before California fully recovers.