A WestJet flight headed from Calgary to Fort Chipewyan to help evacuate residents on Wednesday morning had to turn around due to an engine failure and fire.
The 78-seat plane was en route to the remote northern Alberta town, 300 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, with two crew members and two flight attendants.
"The crew followed all standard safety procedures and were able to safely contain any fire," Denise Kenny, a spokesperson with WestJet, said in a statement.
"As this was an aircraft positioning to Fort Chipewyan, there were no guests on board and at no point was the safety of our crew at risk."
On Tuesday, around 1,000 residents of Fort Chipewyan were told to leave their homes due to wildfire threats, but getting everyone out has been challenging because of the community's remote location.
In the summer months, after the ice road melts, the hamlet is accessible only by plane or boat.
Engine fire being investigated
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has deployed a team to investigate the incident.
Chris Krepski, a spokesperson with the TSB, said the right engine failed and caught fire. The flight crew declared an emergency and returned to Calgary, but the fire was extinguished before they landed.
"The investigators are going to go on the site, examine and document the aircraft, interview witnesses and retrieve the flight data recorder," he said.
"Once we've done an initial data gathering and assessment, [we will] decide the scope of the investigation."