CAVE CREEK, AZ — Fire crews are currently battling a wildfire burning east of Cave Creek Road on the Cave Creek Ranger District.
As of Wednesday night, Tonto National Forest officials say the "Sears Fire" is approximately 14,476 acres with 45% containment near Forest Service Road 24 and the Sears Kay area.
So far, three homes, five outbuildings/sheds and several vehicles were destroyed by the fire.
Officials say burnouts are being conducted as needed around Horseshoe Road and a mop up and monitoring of the fire's southern perimeter continues.
Tonto National Forest officials say the public should expect increased smoke in the area due to the burnout operations.
With decreased fire activity, officials say resources are being released to respond to other fires in the west. There are approximately 170 response personnel assigned to the incident consisting of engines, hand crews, water tenders and helicopters. Air tankers are available based on priority.
The Sears Fire Closure Order has been modified, and access to Bartlett Dam Road and Bartlett Lake has reopened. Please slow down and watch out for firefighters and equipment that are working in the area. Seven Springs Road (NFSR 24) and Horseshoe Lake Road (NFSR 205) remain closed. The closure also limits access to Maricopa Trail segments from Spur Cross to Granite Mountain on the Bronco Trail.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.
Watch live video from the fire below: