Perth scientist Lachie McCaw has been awarded the top prize at the inaugural Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Awards for Excellence.
The awards, announced at the annual Bushfire CRC Conference on the Gold Coast, recognise individual excellence in enhancing the contribution that science and technology makes to an economically and socially sustainable Australia.
DEC Director General Keiran McNamara said Dr McCaw, a principal research scientist with the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), was selected for the award by his peers for his tireless work since the Bushfire CRC's inception in 2003.
"Dr McCaw's work in the State's south-west has vastly improved our understanding of fire behaviour in forests and shrublands throughout the region," Mr McNamara said.
"His research into the ecological impact of fire on the landscape has had positive implications for the way bushfires are managed by DEC and by similar agencies throughout Australia.
"Dr McCaw has taken on a national role in evidence-based decision making in the areas of prescribed burning and land management and is a mentor to the next generation of emerging researchers specialising in these areas.
"He is a role model for current and future fire behaviour researchers and this is a fantastic and well deserved achievement."
Dr McCaw said the Bushfire CRC had been effective in building partnerships between scientists and fire managers that had led to improved management of bushfires throughout Australia.
"The nature and scale of bushfires is changing and it is essential that innovative research continues into managing bushfires for the protection of the community and the benefit of the environment," Dr McCaw said.
"I feel privileged to have been involved with the Bushfire CRC over the past six years and I am really pleased to receive this accolade."
CRC's bring together researchers from universities, the CSIRO and other government organisations, as well as private industry, in long-term collaborative arrangements.
Dr McCaw was the fire behaviour leader on the Bushfire CRC's Research Response Taskforce to the 2009 Victorian bushfires and he has also played a key role in incident management during fires across WA and in the United States.