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Brush fire near Mesa shuts down parts of nearby highway as flames grow


PHOENIX — A brush fire near the Salt River in the East Valley has grown to 500 acres as high winds continued to spread flames.

The Cactus Fire has shut down part of the Bush Highway near northeast Mesa, after it jumped the road. The highway between Power and Usery Pass roads was closed, along with several recreation areas such as Granite Reef, Coon’s Bluff and Phon D Sutton trail.

Officials said Thursday the fire was contained at 40 percent.

Despite the growth, fire officials do not believe the blaze will turn and head for homes and other structures in Mesa.

Tonto National Forest officials said that power lines or other barriers cover 30 percent of the fire’s perimeter and fire crews have protected recreation sites, utility lines and homes. A representative said Wednesday the fire was human-caused and under investigation.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has advised people to stay away from the area.

The wind speeds in the area were nearly 30 mph Tuesday afternoon. No homes were in the path yet.

This is not the first high-profile fire in Arizona this week: The Sawmill Fire near southern Arizona grew to 18,000 acres by Tuesday night.

KTAR News’ Jim Cross contributed to this story.

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