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Fire leadership and research recognised in Australia Day Honours

Friday 25 January, 2013

Two Victorian firefighters have been recognised for their contributions to the improvement of fire management at this year’s Australia Day Honours.

Parks Victoria’s Rocky Barca from Surrey Hills and the Department of Sustainability and Environment’s (DSE) Greg McCarthy from Marlo have been awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal in recognition of their leadership in emergency management, exceptional performance and development of innovative changes.

Mr Barca joined Parks Victoria over 30 years ago where he has served has a Ranger and a Senior Manager in locations such as Wilsons Promontory National Park and Mount Buffalo National Park. He is currently Chief Ranger at Werribee Park. He has also periodically worked with the Department of Sustainability and Environment in fire roles.

Mr McCarthy has over 39 years of experience in firefighting and is currently coordinating the fire ecology monitoring program for landscape mosaic burning in East Gippsland and working on developing new techniques for mapping fire severity and extent.

DSE Chief Fire Officer Alan Goodwin said what stands out about both men is their outstanding ability and contribution to making change and improving fire management, understanding and practices which benefits all of Victoria.

“Greg’s work has been dedicated towards transferring science and research into operation practice and has been vital in the understanding of fire suppression effectiveness, fire ecology and fuel hazard management,” Mr Goodwin said.

“His work has improved fire behaviour predictions and the effectiveness of hazard reduction treatments as well as increasing firefighter safety and community protection.

Parks Victoria’s Director Fire and Emergency Services David Nugent congratulated Mr Barca on the recognition of his outstanding leadership in responding to major bushfires in Victoria’s recent history as Planning Officer and Incident Controller.

“Rocky’s knowledge and experience means he is the ideal leader of project teams developing improvements to fire management policy, practices and procedures in Victoria following major fires.

“Rocky’s leadership qualities are instrumental in the development of a fire training and accreditation program for new and existing top level Incident Controllers which has been adopted by Victoria fire agencies.”

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith has congratulated the two experienced staff members on receiving this much-deserved recognition.

"Both Rocky and Greg are thoroughly deserving recipients and highlight the outstanding experience and dedication we have among the Victorian public service," Mr Smith said.

The Australian Fire Service Medal recognises distinguished service by members of Australian fire services and is awarded by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the responsible Commonwealth, state and territory ministers.

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