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EPA says 160,000 discarded tires pose dangerous fire risk

tire recycling mecca, ca

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90333 63rd Avenue, Mecca, CA

The Environmental Protection Agency is fired up over a tire recycling plant in the desert.

About a year ago, federal regualors told Mecca's Consolidated Tire Recyclers that its outdoor piles of discarded tires posed a fire risk, and needed to be removed, or they could face fines of up to $7,500 per day.

The Desert Sun reports that the dangerous hazard -- originally estimated at 70,000 tires -- has now more than doubled, with operators removing only 10,000 tires since April.

The facility, located within the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians Reservation, about 140 miles southeast of Los Angeles, suffered a fire on July 4 causing $400,000 in damage to one of the buildings. 

The operation primarily sells crumb rubber as fuel to a power generation plant, according to the EPA. In a release, the agency detailed some of the potential dangers of tire fires:

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