An F-16 Air National Guard jet crashed about five miles from the municipal airport in Douglas, Arizona Wednesday night.
There's no word yet on whether the pilot was able to eject.
Images from social media show flames in the southern Arizona desert southeast of Tuscon, just north of the Mexican border.
The single-engine fighter crashed around 8pm local time, according to military officials.
The F-16 was part of the 162nd Air National Guard Wing, the largest one in the country, based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.
In a statement early Thursday, the 162nd Wing said the F-16 was on a night training mission when it went down.
KPHO reports the crash sparked a brush fire that is burning next to a high-pressure gas line. Some families had to be evacuated.
Resident Raymond Candell called 911.
"I noticed a huge, bright orange light and it was like a series of three explosions. You saw the first explosion, then you saw the second fireball, then you saw a third fireball that went up even higher."
The military says the status of the pilot is unknown.