Wind-fanned flames ripped through a Stockton recycling yard near Church and Stockton Streets Thursday.
Plumes of thick smoke emanated from the Recycle Fibers of California yard, causing closures to Interstate 5 nearby and embers to spark more fires more than two miles down the road.
The fire appears to have started in a pile of paper near the recycling plant sometime before 4 p.m. It then grew and spread to a propane tank that exploded, spreading the fire to a pile of railroad ties.
CHP was forced to close southbound Interstate 5 near Highway 4. Heavy smoke covered the roadway as the fire jumped over I-5. Around 5 p.m., after crews got a handle on the flames, the freeway was reopened.
Stockton’s Fire Chief told FOX40 that spot fires were sparked nearly two miles ahead of the original fire at the recycling yard. About 18 grass fires, roof fires and trash fires have been reported.