BALLARAT’S Gary Morgan has been awarded a South-East Asia and Pacific region medal from the Commonwealth Forestry Association.
The Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre chief executive officer assisted in creating the United Nations bushfire strategy that has been adopted worldwide. He also organised the Ericson Aircrane, known as Elvis, to come to Australia for the first time after seeing the aircranes operate in America.
His strong work continues, bringing together the world’s worst fire hot spots later this year.
“We’re going to bring Mediterranean France, Victoria and California together – the three hot spots in the world as far as fire severity, people and assets at risks and terrain damage,” Mr Morgan said.
“We’ve got to make sure we’ve got the three places most affected by fires working co-operatively and sharing knowledge.
“No matter where you’re from, you’ve got to learn from one another. There are different risks but a lot of similarities.”
Mr Morgan’s career began at the Victorian School of Forestry in Creswick in the 1970s, before he moved on to university.
“People think forestry can just be planting trees and caring for forests, but you have to work to protect the forest too,” he said.
“As a forester, you have to get into fire, as fire is a tool we use to reduce fuels and also burn areas post-logging. So I’ve always been involved in fire as well as fire suppression.”
He was the chief fire officer for the Department of Sustainability and Environment (now the Department of Environment and Primary Industries) for nine years before moving into his current job.
“I help set up the CRC. We applied for funding twice when I was chief fire officer and were knocked back, but on the third time we were approved in 2003.”
Mr Morgan became a board member of the Bushfire CRC at its inception, but resigned to become its CEO in 2006.
He said he loved his job and what he had done over his career.
“I get to mix with all people in fire and land management agencies and take part in a range of international committees.”