Wildfire near closed NJ Atco Dragway spreads
🔥 The fire started Sunday afternoon near the former Atco Dragway
🔥 No structures are threatened by the fire
🔥 Smoke may be smelled from the fire in South Jersey
WATERFORD – A wildfire that started Sunday afternoon near the former Atco Dragway has burned 1,200 acres as of Monday afternoon.
Firefighters are using a backfire operation to burn brush and material ahead of the main body of the fire along Jackson Road in the Atco section of Waterford, according to the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. The fire was 40% contained as of 4 p.m.
No structures are threatened and no evacuations have been ordered. Jackson Road was closed from Atsion Road to Tremont Ave at 11:30 a.m.
The Atco Dragway abruptly closed on July 18 after 63 years in business. The owners did not offer a reason for the closure.
No relief from thunderstorms
Monday's high temperatures and humidity are both good and bad for firefighting efforts.
"Firefighters on the front line of the Dragway Wildfire are being told to take things slow today, ensuring they drink water and electrolytes due to the high heat and humidity. The added humidity makes the front line even more smoky than usual, which is an added toll on firefighters, and decreases visibility," New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Spokeswoman Caryn Shinske told New Jersey 101.5.
The humidity will also make the reducing the intensity at which the fire burns. However, it also decreases smoke dispersion, meaning surrounding communities will experience a significant amount of smoke from this fire. Residents with health issues such as asthma or other respiratory matters stay indoors.
NJ 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow does not expect any strong thunderstorms to accompany a cold front Monday evening that could bring heavy rain to help douse the flames.
There have been 930 wildfires in New Jersey in 2023 as of July 17, according to the NJ Forest Fire Service.