Hotspot Fire Project

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Dedication to Dr. Phil Borchard

Tuesday, 15th April 2014

Dedication to Dr. Phil Borchard

Dr Phil Borchard - A legacy and testament to the aspirations of the Hotspots Fire Project

Dr Phil Borchard, Environment Officer (Hotspots), passed away from a rare form of cancer on 9 February 2014.

There is no doubt that the success of Hotspots is a direct result of the team’s dedication and hard work. An absolute testament of this was the passionate and tireless effort provided by Phil.

Phil joined the Hotspots team in 2011 following many years' experience in fire management and ecology. Phil’s passion was for helping landholders understand how they could live harmoniously with their environment, particularly when it came to his area of expertise, and the topic of his PhD, being wombats. This, combined with many years’ experience in the NSWRFS, made him a natural candidate for delivery of Hotspots programs to landholders - supporting them in managing bush fire risk, whilst also maintaining biodiversity.

Phil often went far beyond the role of organising and delivering workshops – he visited landholders between workshops to assist them in completing their fire management plans, helping them apply for Hazard Reduction Certificates and gave advice on how to better manage fire on their properties.

Along with supporting landholders in managing bush fire risk, Phil’s experience and passion for monitoring fauna (through his PhD) saw the development of a pilot community monitoring component for Hotspots. Using motion activated cameras (camera traps) Phil showed landholders the fauna species that are active on their properties. This often included multiple trips to landholders’ properties to set up and check on cameras, often in Phil’s own time, and countless hours going through thousands of photos to decipher exactly what species landholders had on their properties.

Phil’s passion for the community and environment is an inspiration to all the Hotspots team, leaving a lasting impression not only with us, but also with the many communities he worked with. The team holds the upmost respect for Phil’s enthusiasm, vision and capabilities which we believe lead to an important expansion of the Hotspots delivery model.

Phil’s funeral was attended by around 400 family members, friends, RFS volunteers and colleagues, and other associates and was a wonderful tribute to his life.

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