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August 21, 2023

200-acre wildfire rages in South Jersey's Wharton State Forest

The blaze started Sunday near the Atco Speedway in Waterford Township and doubled in size overnight

Environment Wildfires
Dragway Fire New Jersey SCREEN CAPTURE/6ABC

A 200-acre wildfire called the Dragway Fire raged in South Jersey on Monday morning, after erupted from unknown causes near the former Atco Dragway.

A wildfire that erupted in Wharton State Forest in New Jersey on Sunday grew to 200 acres overnight. The fire was only about 5% contained as of Monday morning, according to the New Jersey Fire Service.

The fire started near the Atco Dragway in Camden County, earning it the nickname "the Dragway Fire." As of Monday morning, no injuries or property damage were reported as the flames spread to Burlington County. 

This is not the first time that New Jersey's Wharton State Forest has been threatened by wildfire flames. In June 2022, a wildfire broke out in the forest and spread to more than 7,200 acres, prompting evacuations and fears that nearby structures would be destroyed. No injuries were reported in that fire, which authorities believed was caused by an illegal campfire. In April, another wildfire consumed 3,800 acres in the Pinelands in Ocean County, New Jersey. 

In July, the Atco Dragway abruptly closed after 63 years in operation. No reason was given for the sudden closure of the beloved auto racing track.