Former Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has been named NSW Australian of the Year.
Receiving his award tonight, Mr Fitzsimmons honored volunteers who worked to protect homes and save lives during last season’s fire.
During the 2019-20 NSW forest fire, Mr Fitzsimmons directed global response, including a team of firefighters and volunteers to deal with the worst fire in the country.
This period, known as the Black Summer, saw horrific fires in the nation’s history, killed 34 people and donated more than 18 million hectares of land.
Mr Fitzsimmons worked long hours with government officials and held several daily conferences with the media to keep the NSW community informed of what was happening and what efforts were being made to protect those on the verge of a devastating fire.
In August, the NSW Government adopted 76 recommendations presented in a report on forest fire investigations, including compulsory land enforcement, burning fires near communities, and night water blasts.
Authorities say this year’s wildfire season has begun and the government has promised $ 45 million.
In 1994, he joined NSW RFS full-time in many leadership positions, before being approved as a commissioner in 2007.
In April this year, Mr Fitzsimmons was appointed leader of a new disaster management and recovery agency, Resilience NSW.