Banham volunteer helps pick up the pieces after Canadian wildfire

Alistair Ladds from Banham was one of a team of 10 volunteers, predominantly military veterans, from

Alistair Ladds from Banham was one of a team of 10 volunteers, predominantly military veterans, from disaster relief charity Team Rubicon UK deployed to Fort McMurray (Alberta Canada) following the devastating wildfires that caused the emergency evacuation of 88,000 people and destroyed 2,400 homes and buildings. - Credit: Archant

A Banham man has returned from a mission to Canada to help pick up the pieces after devastating wildfires.

Alistair Ladds

Alistair Ladds - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

Alistair Ladds was one of 10 volunteers from disaster relief charity Team Rubicon UK who went to Fort McMurray to help sift through potentially hazardous debris and ash in destroyed homes.

The volunteers photographed the remains for insurance, and occasionally found important or sentimental items belonging to owners of the 2,400 homes which were destroyed in the fire.

Mr Ladds, who runs an outdoor adventure company that specialises in high ropes courses, said: 'It was great to work alongside veterans from around the world and do our little bit to help those that have lost very personal belongings.

'Seeing first hand the devastation caused by the fire and loss of belongings was extremely touching, but seeing the home owners joy when we found very personal items including wedding rings and war veterans medals made the task one of the most rewarding jobs I've ever done, and I will forever remember my time in Canada with Team Rubicon.'

The Fort McMurray wildfire started on May 1 and is still burning, although it is now under control.

The fire is the costliest disaster in Canadian history, and caused the emergency evacuation of 88,000 people.

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The team searched through almost 100 properties a day during the emergency response.

Mr Ladds said the effort was a good chance to use the skills he had picked up in his new career.

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