Forest Fire Management Victoria’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer Scott Falconer has been awarded a Churchill Fellowship to travel to the United States to explore indigenous people’s involvement in land and fire management.

Bendigo-based Mr Falconer said he was honoured to be awarded the Lord Mayor’s Bushfire Appeal Churchill Fellowship.

“I will use the knowledge and experience I gain during my visit to the United States to further develop the traditional burning program Forest Fire Management Victoria has started in partnership with traditional owners,” Mr Falconer said.

“As part of that partnership, DELWP will fund a member of Dja Dja Wurrung to take part in the trip so we can continue on this path together.

“In May this year two traditional burns, thought to be the first of their kind in 170 years, were undertaken by Forest Fire Management Victoria Dja Dja Wurrung firefighters in Central Victoria.

“Forest Fire Management Victoria Loddon Mallee is on the Country of the Dja Dja Wurrung people and it is in partnership with them that we have begun a unique collaboration to incorporate their connection to Country into our planned burning and fire management practices.

“I’m looking forward to finding out how traditional burning and other land management practices are being undertaken in America and how Forest Fire Management and Dja Dja Wurrung can apply some of those learnings in Australia to create jobs for indigenous people to work on-country.  

Mr Falconer has worked in fire, forestry and fisheries for more than 20 years and was appointed Loddon Mallee Assistant Chief Fire Officer with Forest Fire Management Victoria in June 2016.

The Churchill Fellowship Trust was formed with the principal objective of perpetuating and honouring Sir Winston Churchill’s memory by awarding Memorial Fellowships.

The aim of the Trust is to provide an opportunity for Australians to travel overseas to conduct research in their chosen field not readily available in Australia.  It also aims to reward proven achievement of talented and deserving Australians with further opportunity in their pursuit of excellence for the enrichment of Australian society.