The blaze erupted about 7:35 p.m. in the 1400 block of W. Mission Boulevard. No structures were on fire, and the flames were contained to the outdoor recycling yard, fire officials said.
Bales of newspaper and pallets fed the flames, which sent smoke billowing into the air that could be seen for miles. One firefighter was being treated for smoke inhalation.
"I rushed over here because I live right across the street and thought my house was on fire," area resident George Gonzalez said. "(This has happened) more than once, and it's sort of getting annoying. One spark can get a house to catch on fire.
An employee of the ablaze plant also said this is not the first time a fire has broken out in the yard.
"This has happened before about three or four times," plant employee Ubaldo Vasquez said.
Firefighters respond to the recycling plant a few times a year for fire-related calls, officials said.
"There’s plastic, paper and machinery, and whenever you get that combination, we get some fires out here," LA County Fire Capt. Tom Richards said.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.