A small plane crashed and burst into flames Thursday in a horse corral in northern Los Angeles County, killing four people and three horses, a fire official said.

The single-engine plane, which may have departed from a local airport, went down at about 12:10 p.m. behind a barn in Agua Dulce, county fire Inspector Matt Levesque said.

The plane caught fire but was quickly doused, he said.

Three horses in the corral were killed and a fourth was injured, Levesque said.

The crash site was about a mile west of the Agua Dulce Airpark, but it was not immediately clear whether the plane had taken off from the runway there, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The cause of the crash was under investigation. The skies were overcast at the time of the crash, Gregor said.

The high-desert area about 30 miles north of Los Angeles is flanked by forest and the urban communities of Santa Clarita and Palmdale. It is near Vasquez Rocks, a local rock formation often used as a filming location for movies and TV shows.