US fugitive believed barricaded in burning cabin

A former US cop wanted for multiple murders was believed to be in a burning California mountain cabin Tuesday, officials said, after a report that a SWAT team moved in on the fugitive.

San Bernadino Sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman confirmed that one deputy had been killed and another injured in an exchange with Christopher Dorner, who has been on the run since last week when he allegedly killed three people.

"We still have an active scene," Bachman said, after live TV pictures showed flames and smoke engulfing a cabin near Big Bear, in the mountains two hours east of Los Angeles.

"There's a subject barricaded in a cabin. At this time that cabin is on fire," she told reporters.

The suspect "has been described as looking similar to Christopher Dorner, and we have reason to believe it is him," she said, while adding: "That is unconfirmed at this time."

"We don't know if he's inside. The cabin is on fire now, that's all I can tell you... we are planning on a long night," she added.

The update came shortly after CNN reported that a SWAT team had moved in on the cabin, where Dorner reportedly took refuge after being spotted in a vehicle stolen earlier from another cabin.

Tear gas was fired into the cabin, which was thought to contain ammunition, CNN reported.

Police launched a massive manhunt last week for Dorner, who had already been accused of killing three people, and threatened to kill other police in a chilling online manifesto.