Rob Rogers has been confirmed as the successor to Shane Fitzsimmons as leader of the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Emergency Services Minister David Elliott announced on July 16 Rogers has been endorsed as NSW RFS commissioner following his “exemplary service” in a career that began as a volunteer in 1979.
Rogers had been acting in the role since April while a search was conducted to fill the commissioner’s role.
“Rob is truly a veteran of the RFS. From his seat on the ‘Belrose Blitz’ (fire tanker) to the commissioner’s chair – the community has benefited from Rob’s leadership in action over successive fire seasons,” Elliott said in a statement.
Rogers played an integral role alongside Fitzsimmons as the RFS battled a horror summer of bushfires, that led to 26 deaths, burnt 5.5 million hectares, and destroyed 2476 houses.
There were close to 200,000 firefighting shifts used to battle 11,000 to 12,000 fires that started in July, and 6500 interstate and international personnel came to the state’s aid.
Elliott praised Rogers ‘ leadership as the state readied for another bushfire season.
“We’ve been working in lockstep with Rob Rogers and the RFS to ensure the state is as prepared as it can be to face disaster again this bushfire season,” Elliott said.
Confirmation of Rogers’ appointment comes as two major investigations continue into the nation’s summer bushfires.
The NSW Bushfire Inquiry and the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements are due to finish their reports by the end of July and August, respectively.