A visiting Californian wine judge doesn't know if her house will be there when she gets home.

Elaine Brown is in New Zealand to judge this year's Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

She was evacuated from her Sonoma home just days before coming here.

She told Coast Breakfast with Brian Kelly the wildfires are spreading rapidly and she doesn't know if her home will survive.

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"It's advanced multiple times, and they've been able to hold it off from coming near our house. The last I heard it's still there but we don't know at this point."

Never before have so many fire crews and so much equipment been deployed in one place, at one time.

More than 10,000 firefighters and police are battling to control dozens of wildfires across California.

At least 40 people have been killed in the fires, and 100-thousand people have been evacuated from their homes.

Helitanker 743, based out of the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport drops on a wildfire on Mt. St. Helena, above Knights Valley north of Calistoga, California. Photo / AP
Helitanker 743, based out of the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport drops on a wildfire on Mt. St. Helena, above Knights Valley north of Calistoga, California. Photo / AP

Ms Brown said a 747 is being used to drop water on the massive fires.

"A plane of that size flying low to the ground, and then dumping just football fields worth of fire retardant - it's quite surreal and intense."