Dr Chris Back
Dr Back is a veterinary surgeon by profession and initially worked as a vet in rural WA before joining the public service. He spent some years as CEO of Rottnest, and then was appointed CEO of the Bush Fires Board in WA, taking over from John Robley. He later entered politics, and represented Western Australia as a Senator in the Federal Government, before retiring from politics in 2017. As Senator he was responsible for a Senate Inquiry into Bushfires in Australia, and was the senior author of the excellent report which resulted. He has been a strong supporter of the Bushfire Front for many years, and launched our book “Tempered by Fire” in 2011.
Roger Underwood AOM
Over 40 years experience of bushfire management in Australia and overseas. Former General Manager of CALM in WA, a regional and district manager, a research manager and bushfire specialist. Directs a consultancy practice with a focus on bushfire management.
Over 40 years experience in bushfire management in WA and Victoria. Formerly a regional and district manager, member of the Lands and Forests Commission and long-time Chairman of the Institute of Foresters.
Dr Frank McKinnell
Over 40 years experience in bushfire research and management in WA, including being responsible for bushfire management in WA forests and national parks in the 1980s, and a research manager overseeing studies into bushfire behaviour and ecology. Has advised overseas governments on bushfire policy and management.
Over 40 years practical experience as a firefighter and fire specialist in WA, now runs a bushfire consultancy practice. Special knowledge of southern conservation reserves, and has strong working networks with volunteer brigades and Shire councils.
Forty years experience in fire suppression, fuel reduction burning and fire research in southern forests and in Kimberley savanna. Has special skills in aerial burning and was a key participant in the Project Vesta study of high intensity fire behaviour.
35 years experience as a forester, District Manager, fire officer and, most recently, Strategic Contracts Manager with the Forest Products Commission. Currently part time consultant and chair of the WA Division of the Institute of Foresters of Australia.
Noel Ashcroft AM, JP
Over 25 years experience in forest fire prevention and control in South West forests. Over 20 years experience at State, national and international level in the agriculture, mining and resources processing industries. Chaired Boards and Committees dealing with land use planning and management, and infrastructure development for a number of high value multiple use areas across the State of Western Australia.
Rick has more than 44 years’ experience as a participant and leader in WA state, national and international forest and bushfire/wildfire management programs, specialising in policy, operations, research, prevention, prescribed burning, management plans, training and Incident Management
He is recognised nationally and internationally as a leader in bushfire management, and has lead the Australian contingent of fire team leaders to assist USA in the control of major forest fires in 2000, 2004, and 2006, and into Canada 2007. He has been national chairman of the Forest Fire Management group, the AFAC Rural Fire Management Group, and the Bushfire CRC.
He has authored numerous scientific and technical papers on wide range of fire management topics, and presented papers at numerous national and international fire conferences and workshops.
Ian Kealley OAM
A 40 year career in forestry, land management and conservation including 33 years as Goldfields Regional Manger. Involved in arid area and rangelands land management including bushfire management and prescribed fire. Involved in introducing active fire management, research and prescribed burning across a third of WA including spinifex deserts, rangelands and the Great Western Woodlands. Specialist knowledge of desert and woodland environments and working with Aboriginal people and communities.
In addition, The Bushfire Front has access to a national network of land managers, bushfire experts, bushfire scientists, farmers and volunteer firefighters who share our goals, concerns and priorities.