ATASCADERO, Calif.—A small plane crashed in a remote ranch east of this Central Coast city on Sunday, killing a pilot and sparking a fire, authorities said.

Thomas Leveque, 41, of Pacifica was pronounced dead by rescuers responding to the crash in Creston around 11:40 a.m. The fire burned a wing coated in fuel, but firefighters contained the blaze within minutes, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Capt. Jane Schmitz said.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.