Featured Presenters

Dr Sarah M McCaffrey, Research Forester, United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service

Sarah McCaffrey, Ph.D. is a Research Forester for the USDA Forest Service, Northern ReseaMcCaffrey headshotrch Station. Her research focuses on the social aspects of fire management. This work has included projects examining wildfire risk perception, social acceptability of prescribed fire and thinning, characteristics of effective communication programs, and incentives for creation and maintenance of defensible space. She has also initiated work examining social issues that occur during and after fires including evacuation decision making, agency-community interaction during fires, and community health impacts of experiencing a fire. This has included work interviewing emergency responders and residents after wildfires in the U.S. as well as work in Australia where she assisted the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre with their post-fire data collection following the February 7th 2009 bushfires and was named a USDA liaison to the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.   She received her PhD in Wildland Resource Science in 2002 from the University of California at Berkeley.



Dr Kevin Tolhurst AM, Assoc. Prof., Fire Ecology and Management, Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science, University of Melbourne

Kevin Tolhurst is Associate Professor in Fire Ecology and Management in the Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science, University of Melbourne based in Creswick. Kevin_Tolhurst2332picture-smaller

Kevin has developed a professional reputation by providing expert advice on fire behaviour and fire suppression strategies at major bushfires. Some examples include the Black Saturday fires in Victoria in 2009, and the Great Divide Fires in 2007. In 2015, Kevin was made a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his contribution to fire science and the community over a long period.

Kevin has developed and taught a number of fire related subjects at undergraduate and post-graduate level as well as a national Fire Behaviour Analyst course for technical specialists in the fire and land management agencies.

Kevin’s current research activities are centered around developing and applying a bushfire risk management decision support systems. He has established a group of fire scientists in the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences with a range of research, fire, land management and teaching skills.

His research and consulting interests include:

  • Wildfire behaviour prediction
  • Development of prescribed burning techniques and guidelines
  • Landscape-scale fire ecology management
  • Fire risk management
  • Ecological impacts of repeated fires






Euan Ferguson AFSM

Euan Ferguson is a forester and fire emergency manager with 39 years experience in fire and fuels riskEuan Ferguson- smaller management, community engagement and emergency management leadership. In 2015 Euan retired after 5 years as Chief Officer with 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 authority in Victoria. In the 1980’s, Euan was a member of the Army Reserve, was commissioned in 1985, and served with 91 Forestry Squadron. Euan has held a number of key appointments including past Chair and inaugural member of the Board of the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC); past Chair and member of the Board of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC). Euan is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF). Euan is an advocate for firefighter safety through better decision making and promotes the philosophy of intent based leadership.