WESTLEY, Calif.—At about 4 a.m. Sept. 22, lightning apparently ignited a pile of 5 million tires near this central California town. Ralph Chandler, executive director of the California Integrated Waste Management Board, said officials are attempting to keep the remaining 2 million tires on the site from catching fire. He said state regulators had been attempting to get the site's owner, Ed Filbin, to clean it up for a couple of years.
This fire is about 20 miles from Tracy, Calif., where a tire fire broke out in a 7 million-tire pile in August 1998. Officials decided to let that fire burn itself out, and it is still smoldering.
In the mid-1980s, Oxford Energy Inc. built an electrical generating plant adjacent to then 40+ million-tire Filbin pile that used whole tires as its sole fuel.