Forest Fire Management

The articles provided in this Members area of the IFA’s website are for the information and interest of IFA members. They come from a variety of sources and are provided to generate debate and discussion, and to better inform members of the variety of views present on forest fire management. IFA members are encouraged to comment on papers listed or posted here so that the IFA’s Forest Fire Management Committee may formulate draft IFA Position Papers for the IFA Board’s endorsement and publication.

The contents of these papers do not necessarily represent the views or positions of the IFA Board, the IFA's Forest Fire Management Committee, or of the membership of the IFA.

One of the first tasks undertaken by the Committee has been to review the Institute’s two policy papers relating to forest fire management, which were last updated in 2003. Much has changed since these documents were prepared and the decision was taken to combine the key points into a single draft position paper. This is titled The Role of Fire and its Management in Australian Forests and Woodlands. Members were invited to read the draft position paper and provide comment; the final policy paper after this consultation process can be found HERE .

Forest Fire Management Resources

The following media releases regarding fire have been distributed to members:

6 June 2018: Fire Fire Fire
National Bushfire Management Policy Statement for Forests and Rangelands
High Cost of Wildfires
What is the True Cost of Forest Fire Management on Public Land in Victoria
IFA Victorian Forest Policies
Toward Shared Stewardship Across Landscapes
Management of Wildfire Risk
Mega-Fires and the Preservation Paradox - Creswick - JT Williams
National Research Priorities 2013
Implementation Plan May 2013
IFA Position Statement: The Role of Fire and its Management in Australian Forests and Woodlands
Fire Management - Voluntary Guidelines - Principles and Strategic Actions - FAO 2006

Forest Fire Management Committee

Members may contact the IFA Fire Committee at any time by emailing ifaforestfire@gmail.com


Gary Morgan AM AFSM, Chair

Gary was previously a Chief Fire Officer (9 years for Public land in Victoria) and the CEO of the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (7 years) before retiring.
Today he continues to undertake occasional consultancies and a range of voluntary activities.




Tony Blanks AFSM, Secretary

Tony gained a degree in Agricultural Science and then spent his career in operational fire management roles; initially with the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service and subsequently Forestry Tasmania before recently retiring.



Phil Cheney PSM

Phil has worked in bushfire research since 1964 primarily studying fire behaviour in vegetation types ranging from sugar-cane to wet eucalypt forests. He led the CSIRO Bushfire Behaviour and Management Research program from 1975 to 2000.







Neil Cooper PSM

Neil gained a Bachelor of Science (Forestry) degree from ANU in 1982, after which he held various forestry, land management and fire related positions, before commencing at ACT Forests in 1986. Neil is currently the Senior Manager of Fire Forests and Roads with the ACT Parks and Conservation Service, responsible for all fire issues across the 150,000 ha of unleased Territory Land in the ACT with additional responsibility for all ACT commercial forestry operations and all rural road maintenance. Neil is a director on the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) Board; Chair of the Forest Fire Management Group (FFMG), a Ministerial subcommittee and ACT Representative on the Forestry and Forest Products Committee (FFPC), a Ministerial subcommittee.


Euan Ferguson AFSM

Euan Ferguson has over 40 years of field, operational, managerial and executive experience in fire and emergency management. He has been deeply involved in re-shaping organisations following hard lessons learned after major disasters. In November 2015 Euan retired after 5 years as Chief Officer with the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA). Previously, Euan held the role of Chief Officer and CEO of the South Australian Country Fire Service for 9 years. Prior to that, Euan held a range of field fire and forestry roles with CFA and with the public land management agency in Victoria. Euan chairs the Victorian Division of the IFA

Peter Leeson

Principal Conservation Officer, Fire Management at Qld Parks and Wildlife Service Originally a Forester and Senior Forester with the Queensland Department of Forestry and Dept of Natural Resources from 1980 to 2002 in several areas including Beerburrum and Gympie, Peter transferred to the Qld Parks and Wildlife Service in 2002, where he developed an increasing specialization in forest fire management and fire investigation. Peter’s primary role is in operational development, fire training, fire investigations and inter-agency liaison.



Dr Lachlan (Lachie) McCaw

Lachie McCaw has worked in forestry since 1980 and is a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) with skills in native forest management. He has extensive experience in bushfire research and management with a focus on forests, woodlands and shrublands of Western Australia.






Chris Morton

Chris works with the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. While studying Forest Ecosystem Science at the University of Melbourne Chris developed a special interest in bushfire management, working as a project firefighter with Parks Victoria and undertaking fire behaviour research.






Mark Poynter

Mark is a professional forester with over 40 years’ experience working for both government and private industry mainly in Victoria and Tasmania, including over 20 years as an independent consultant. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Foresters of Australia and has been a regular commentator on forestry issues in the public arena for many years, mainly via online media outlets. He has written two books on the enviro-political campaigning against native forest management, including the implications for forest and fire management.



Ruth Ryan AFSM

Ruth Ryan is Corporate Fire Manager for HVP Plantations where she oversees the activities of seven CFA Forest Industry Brigades and fire management in relation to over 160,000 hectares of softwood and hardwood plantations in Victoria. She has over 35 years’ experience in forestry and fire in Victoria and has worked in a variety of locations across Victoria, including East Gippsland, the North East, the Murray Plains, The Green Triangle (SW Vic / SE SA) and Central Highlands. She is an experienced firefighter, with operational roles in major and minor fires since the 1983 Ash Wednesday Fires.


Dr Kevin Tolhurst AM

Kevin is semi-retired. He practised forest management in Victoria before turning to bushfire research. He has provided expert advice to several inquiries and court cases. He has been active in education, training and research at the University of Melbourne where he is still a Senior Fellow.





Judy Alexander

Judy Alexander has worked in forestry since 1996 and is a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) with skills in certification. She has worked across most states in Australia and as an operational forester, has had extensive experience in fire across multiple States. She currently works for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning as the Regional Manager, Environmental Compliance in Gippsland. She has a passion for using education and compliance to prevent human sources of wildfire.