A New Zealander in California has described the "apocalyptic scene" after the wildfires that left destruction in their path.
The fires raging since Sunday have killed 36 people and destroyed at least 5700 homes and other buildings.
With more than 250 people missing, officials expect the toll to rise.
Much of the devastation is centred in and around the Sonoma County town of Santa Rosa, where whole neighbourhoods were reduced to grey ash and smouldering ruins.
Aucklander Robett Hollis was in the East Bays area, north of San Francisco, with his wife and his newborn baby.
He said he had never seen so much destruction.
On Tuesday morning, he sent supplies to his brother-in-law, a firefighter battling blazes near Sonoma.
He and his family then fled the "utter chaos".
"As far as the eye could see when we went through, there was pretty much no homes, nothing, just flattened to the ground," he said.
"No structures, no foundation, the wheels of the car had melted into ... metal lying on the ground.
"I was looking at a couple of thousand homes just disappear.
"And the speed of it - I just don't see any way that a lot of those people, especially the elderly ... would have had a chance to get out."
Mr Hollis said cars were left parked on the road as motorists tried and escape the blaze.
When the fires first broke out, it was "an apocalyptic scene".
"People couldn't get gas, there was just fist fights for gas pumps, the whole thing was just carnage.
"There was some looting as well."
The Aucklander and his family are now taking refuge in Santa Cruz.