Members may contact the Forestry Australia Fire Committee at any time by emailing

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.

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. Following the devastating 2003 Canberra fires,  Neil was appointed to the position of 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 was a director on the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) Board for over 10 years; Chair of the Forest Fire Management Group (FFMG) for 12 years , and the ACT Representative on the Forestry and Forest Products Committee (FFPC), a Ministerial subcommittee, for 20 years. In 2010 he was awarded the Public Service Medal (PSM) for his involvement in the national and international fire sector.

Neil “retired” from the ACT Government in 2021 and is now a part time farmer while also being contracted to CSIRO as the Programme Manager for the National Bushfire Intelligence Capability (NBIC) project that aims to achieve uniformity in the way bushfire risk and bushfire intensity is mapped across Australia.

Euan Ferguson AFSM

Euan Ferguson has over 40 years experience in fire and emergency management. In November 2015 Euan retired after 5 years as Chief Officer of 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 has previously held the role of Chair of AFAC (the lead fire authority organisation in Australasia) and as Chair of the National Aerial Firefighting Centre.  He has been deeply involved in re-shaping organisations and communities following hard lessons learned after major disasters. Since leaving CFA, Euan has worked on rural fire organisation and post incident community recovery assignments in W.A., Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland , Tasmania, South Australia, the A.C.T. and New Zealand.  Euan is keenly sought after by fire agencies, land management organisations and plantation owners to advise on risk and best practice in forest fire risk management.  Euan is a Director of the North East Catchment Management Authority (NECMA) and Chairs their Audit and Risk Committee.  Euan is a co-manager of a 900ha sheep and grain farm near Wedderburn in Victoria and is a member of the local CFA Brigade.

Peter Leeson

Previously 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. As Principal Conservation Officer, Fire Management, Peter’s primary role is was in operational development, fire training, fire investigations and inter-agency liaison.  

Peter is now with Burning Issues and Solutions, providing specialist fire investigation, incident analysis, and investigation training services.

Dr Lachlan (Lachie) McCaw AFSM

Lachie McCaw has worked in forestry since 1980 and is a Registered Forestry Professional (RFP) 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 and has published more than 80 journal articles and book chapters on fire. He gave evidence to the 2009 Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission on the role of prescribed burning in forest fuel management. Lachie was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal in 2021 and is an active volunteer firefighter with his local bush fire brigade.

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.

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.

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 for over 160,000 hectares of softwood and hardwood plantations in Victoria. She has 40 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.

Judy Alexander

Judy Alexander has been a forestry for over 25 years. 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 Manager for Regulatory Operations. She has a passion for using education and compliance to prevent human sources of wildfire.

David de Podolinsky

David has worked in fire management on the public land estate since 2009, in both field based and operational planning roles. He has spent this time in forests of the Victorian Central Highlands, working to minimise the impacts of bushfire on local communities, forests, and Melbourne’s water supply catchments. From an early stage in his career, David became interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the forest environment he was working in, which inspired him to complete a Master of Forest Ecosystem Science with the University of Melbourne.