Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Click on the logo above to view the original article.

Historian and author Roger Underwood has been recognised for decades of service to forestry and bushfire management in WA.

On Friday the Palmyra local was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia.

He said the honour was something he had gained thanks as much to the work of those around him as it was for his own efforts managing and caring for forests.

“It just so happens I’ve been more in the public eye,” he said.

“But that’s me as a representative of other good people who have devoted their lives to this sort of thing.”

Mr Underwood’s first job after leaving high school was with a forestry fire gang in Dwellingup in the summer of 1958-59.

On his second day he was deployed to a bushfire sparked by a steam locomotive hauling logs.

It would be the first of hundreds of nights where he returned home late smelling of smoke.

In 1963 he was employed as a forester where he helped develop aerial controlled burning and oversaw the introduction of aircraft fire spotting.

He was general manager of Conservation and Land Management between 1985 and 1994 where he spent most of his time overseeing regional operations and bushfire management.

In 1994 he left that job to take a role at a forestry and bushfire management consultancy firm.

Nine years later he co-founded volunteer group The Bushfire Front in response to what he said were declining standards of bushfire management in WA.

In between, he has written numerous papers, articles and books on forestry and bushfire history, with more on the way.

“Our job was to conserve and protect,” Mr Underwood said.

“That was what I was brought up to do and I devoted my whole life to conserving and protecting WA forests.”

Related Posts

  • There are many common problems that volunteer firefighters face in an Australia wide context. One issue that has been raised by the VFFA is the need for the NSW State Government to look at the rural culture that has been…

  • Congratulations to the Liberal Government in Western Australia in announcing the locating of its new Rural Fire Service Headquarters to a Rural location. It's not too late for NSW to follow suit by relocating our RURAL Fire Service to a…

  • The most fundamental tool of the bushfire manager is not the fire tanker, the bulldozer, or even the water bomber. It is the match. The only way to minimise fire intensity and damage is by reducing the amount of fuel…

  • This post includes the paper by Roger Underwood titled "Australian Bushfire Management: a case study in wisdom versus folly". The choices before us are straight-forward: Do we (Australians) want our bushfire and land management planning done by professionals with front-line…

  • In Western Australia in the early 1960s, a revolutionary technology was developed: lighting fuel reduction burns using aircraft. Its adoption by forest managers ensured there was an entire generation of Western Australians protected from the ravages of severe wildfires. In…

  • The end of that great Australian institution, the volunteer country fire brigade, is drawing nigh, done in by the ignorance of greens, the ambitions of empire-building desk warriors and layer after counterproductive layer managerialist protocols. Why use a rake when…

  • Western Australia needs to have more controlled burns to curb the risk of out-of-control bushfires, the WA premier says. Mr Underwood said Australia was "doomed to savage bushfires" without prescribed burns.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *