Hurricane-force winds drive California wildfires

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FARIA BEACH, Calif. (CBS) The extreme Santa Ana winds are kicking up a massive wall of flames in Ventura County in one of the most volatile wildfires dubbed the "Thomas Fire."

For the first time, parts of Southern California are under what's being called a purple warning as hurricane force winds drive the flames.

Flames on both sides of a major highway forced a 17-mile stretch closure for hours.

"It's incredibly scary," said Philip Vertock, a resident of Ojai.

About 20 miles north, nearly all 7,000 people living in the small resort town of Ojai have been evacuated.

Firefighters have been struggling to get a handle on the blaze that's wiped out nearly 100,000 acres since Monday night.

Darlene Jordon and her husband are among the hundreds of fire victims trying to grasp the devastation.

"Everything's here. Everything. Everything is here... we got out with the dog," Darlene Jordon said.

In Los Angeles County, fire crews took advantage of calmer winds to save many of the multimillion-dollar homes in the exclusive community of Bel Air.

Hundreds of schools are closed for the rest of the week across Southern California as firefighters try to get the massive blazes under control.

Another fire has forced evacuations in San Diego.