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Cactus Fire update: Fire burning 800 acres along Bush Highway

Posted: 6:31 PM, Apr 25, 2017
Updated: 2017-04-29 08:28:15-04
FD: Fire burning on Bush Highway near Mesa
FD: Fire burning on Bush Highway near Mesa
FD: Fire burning on Bush Highway near Mesa

Firefighters say the Cactus Fire burning on both sides of the Bush Highway northeast of Mesa is now 800 acres. 

RELATED: Photos of Cactus Fire burning northeast of Mesa.

The fire is reportedly burning near milepost 23, which would place it inside the boundary of the Tonto National Forest. According to a national forest spokeswoman, the fire is now approximately 800 acres and is 40 percent contained.  It was last reported as reaching just four miles from the northeast edge of Mesa. 

The fire is burning above the Granite Reef Dam, though the dam, power lines and other structures are not threatened, according to Carrie Templin with Tonto National Forest. 

The fire continued to grow Friday as winds picked up heavily in the area.

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group is also keeping an eye on the fire, worried that it could threaten wild horses in the area.

"We hope for the best, but we want to be prepared for the worst," Simone Netherlands, with the Wild Horse Management Group, said. "They [the horses] will run away from the fire. But basically, we're more worried about them running away, maybe panicking, and running into fences or babies losing their bands and things like that."

Crews said they had ordered an air tanker and about 100 firefighters, including a hotshot crew, were currently assigned.

Andy Mandell, a spokesperson for Tonto National Forest said they have plans for an air attack, but the "type 3" helicopter hasn't arrived yet.

"Retardants have not been an option on this fire because of the close proximity to the water way and the effects of the retardant on SRP's water," Mandell said. "There's a lot to consider."

Officials said the fire is human-caused, but is still under investigation.

Stay with ABC15 and ABC15.com for updates on this ongoing fire.