Meet the man taking over Shane Fitzsimmons as boss of the Rural Fire Service– and his plan for Australia after one of the worst bushfire seasons in history
- Rob Rogers is a 40-year firefighting veteran and is the new RFS commissioner
- The 56-year-old is planning to learn from the devastating 2019/20 fire season
- He plans to review firefighters equipment and implement water bombing aircraft
- Support for firefighters effected by traumatic events in the field will be granted
Rob Rogers has taken over from Shane Fitzsimmons as the new NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner.
The 56-year-old is a 40-year veteran of the RFS and has begun planning for the impending bushfire season that he predicts will begin in August.
The 2019/20 bushfire season was one of the worst in Australian history, with the devastation leaving 25 lives lost, millions of animals incinerated and thousands of properties destroyed.
Mr Rogers is planning to learn from the tragic events of last season and is looking to implement a permanent water-bombing fleet of aircraft and conduct a review of fire trucks and safety equipment used by first responders.
Rob Rogers is the new NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner and has begun planning for the upcoming bushfire season
The 2019/20 bushfire season was the worst in Australian history, with the devastation leaving 25 lives lost, millions of animals incinerated and thousands of properties destroyed. Pictured: firefighters tackle a blaze at Hillville in November
‘The summer’s fires behaved in a way experts had never seen before, the spread defying predictions and decimating towns,’ he told The Sunday Telegraph.
Mr Rogers believes Australia needs its own fire fighting aircraft due to the frequency and ferocity of fires instead of leasing them from overseas.
‘I am very keen to see that happening,’ he said.
NSW became the first state to invest in their own water-bombing aircraft last year, spending $26.3million on the RFS Marie Bashir plane, which helped in fire and rescue efforts across the country last season.
An out-of-control blaze tears through Mount Adrah in central New South Wales in January
Fire trucks that don’t roll over have been prioritised after the tragic death of volunteer firefighter Samuel McPaul, when a fire tornado flipped a truck during the Green Valley bushfire east of Albury near the NSW-Victoria border on December 30.
Providing support services for firefighters effected by traumatic events in the field will also be granted.
Mr Rogers started his career at the RFS when he was 15-years-old in Belrose.
The father-of-two is bracing for the summer ahead and hopes to be as prepared and ready as possible for another aggressive season.
‘I think this fire season, all the rules for fire went out the window,’ he said.
Firefighters rush to move their fire truck as a fire flares up on the road side at Bilpin in December 2019