This article was reproduced with the kind permission
of the British Broadcasting Corporation
30 November 2007, 16:59 GMT
Firefighters were called to the Biffa site in Lichfield Road, Cannock, Staffordshire, during the afternoon.
A fire service spokeswoman said an 800m (2,624ft) exclusion zone was placed around the site to keep away traffic.
Delays built as the ring road had to close and police were going door-to-door warning residents to stay indoors and keep windows shut.
The A34 ringway was closed in both directions and police advised motorists to avoid the area.
A Biffa spokesman said the fire seemed to have started after a delivery of 40 tonnes of silica sand.
The sand is thought to have contained a combustible material which staff had not been made aware of.
An investigation will be launched as soon as possible.