The three passengers escaped with minor injuries.
Large plumes of black smoke could be seen rising from the aircraft on the beach near the Point Mugu Naval Air Station, located about 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
The plane is reportedly a Boeing 707 plane, which is considered an older model. It crashed and slid off a runway just before 5:30 p.m. Skid marks indicate the plane slid off the runway as it attempted to take off.
The naval air base issued a flight-restricted-area designation, requiring any aircraft to maintain a distance of at least 5 miles.
About 150,000 pounds of jet fuel was reportedly onboard when the plane crashed. It is not clear if any fuel had gone into the ocean.
Several firefighting agencies were summoned to extinguish the flames from the ground and air. A helicopter dumped several loads of water on the tanker. Firefighters on the ground appeared to be letting the fire burn but were dousing the area around the plane.
There is a possibility of a hazardous-material situation. The smoke and fuel can be toxic. People in the area were warned to stay indoors and away from the smoke.
According to an air station spokeswoman, the tanker is used for fleet operations support and transporting fuel. It is not known where the tanker was headed at the time of the crash.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.