A nearly 20-acre grass fire sent a large plume of black smoke into the sky and burned nearly four dozen vehicles at a storage yard northeast of Bakersfield on Saturday afternoon, the Kern County Fire Department reported.

Capt. Michael Nicholas said the blaze, centered north of North Chester Avenue and Manor Street, appeared to have been started at about 3:30 p.m. by workers cutting metal in the area.

No injuries were reported.

The fire was brought under control by 6 p.m. following a multiagency effort involving department helicopters and crews from the Bakersfield Fire Department, Cal Fire and the federal Bureau of Land Management. The Kern County Sheriff's Office and the California Highway Patrol helped control traffic in the area.

Eight outbuildings and some travel trailers were damaged by the fire, Nicholas said.

The exact cause of the fire remained under investigation early Saturday evening.

A spokeswoman for Chevron Corp., which operates in an oil field not far from the source of the smoke, said the blaze was unrelated to its operations.

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