Working on Fire 20th Anniversary Fire Symposium Presenters
Trevor Abrahams is the Managing Director of South Africa’s largest wildland fire management resource, Working on Fire. Trevor is also the Project Coordinator for the Working on Fire – Kishugu Joint Venture, responsible for implementing the Working on Fire program on behalf of the South African government.
With a force of 5300 firefighters stationed across 200 bases across the country, the Programme’s activities range from fire management planning, detection, prevention and suppression to dispatch and coordination and community fire awareness education.
A thought-leader on climate change and its impact on wildfire activity, and one of the foremost voices on wildfires in Africa, Trevor was invited to present a paper at the International Association of Wildland Fire’s Fire & Climate 2022 Conference in Pasadena, California in the United States.
His review of the conference and details of his presentation were subsequently the subject of a national television interview on the SABC News Channel.
Trevor has also led WOF teams internationally in deployments on three of its five deployments to Canada.
Trevor obtained a Commercial Pilots licence from the FAA and also worked as a flight instructor in the USA. He later established and served as the CEO and Commissioner of the South African Civil Aviation Authority between 1998 – 2003, and he is now Chairman of Kishugu Aviation, which – over the past 19 years – has invested some R250m to develop an aerial capacity to support Working On Fire.
Between February 2015 and March 2016, Trevor was the Secretary General, XIV World Forestry Congress, overseeing the planning and successful hosting of Africa’s first World Forestry Congress in Durban in September 2015. This conference involved some 4,100 delegates from across the globe.
Trevor has also served as advisor to national government ministers (Trevor Manuel, Alec Erwin and the late Sibusizo Bhengu).
He also worked as an Associate Professor in the United States in New York City – at Broome Community College and at the State University of New York .
Trevor is also the former National Director of the SACHED Trust and the Secretary for Africa at the World University Service in Geneva, Switzerland.
He holds a Master’s degree in Sociology from the State University of New York, and Honours and Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Cape Town.
His interests include scuba diving, golf and sports shooting.
I started my working career forester with the Dept. Of Forestry after qualifying as forester from Saasveld in 1988.
- Act as training centre manager 1996-1999 at Platorand training centre for SAFCOL in Sabie.
- Lecturer in Fire Management at the Nelson Mandela University (NMU) George Campus (Saasveld) since 2000 where I am the current HOD OF THE Forestry Department (Forestry, Wood Technology and Veldfire Management programmes)
- Holds teaching and HR qualifications and acquired a master’s degree in Fire Management at NMU in 2012.
- Championed the development of the Higher Certificate in Veldfire Management that was launched in 2014 at NMU.
- Organiser of the Veldfire Management Symposium (13 to date)
- Ongoing involvement in veldfires include:
- Ad-hoc research.
- Presenting short courses in veldfire management.
- Writing articles for popular technical magazines.
- Veldfire investigation and management consultant.
- Editor of the “Fire Manager’s Handbook on Veld and Forest Fires, Strategy, Tactics and Safety – South African Edition.”
- Taking part in technical talks addressing fire issues on RSG radio station (Agri-forum)
- Present papers at national and international conferences on the topic of fire management.
A graduate forester with 47 years’ experience in forestry, agriculture, and business. Dave Dobson has developed a wide range of expertise in forestry enterprise development, afforestation project management, forestry due diligence, forestry valuations, fire investigations and forestry forensic investigations. He has served on a number of forest industry boards.
He was part of a two man team that negotiated and purchased two wattle extract factories from Mondi resulting in the establishment of NTE Co Ltd. He was also instrumental in negotiating with re-insurers and setting up SAFIRE Insurance Co Ltd.
His key experience includes:
- Serving as Vice-Chairman of SAFIRE that specialises in short term and forestry and related insurance. He also Chairs the Company’s Risk and Nominations Committees.
- Chief Consultant for the development of a Timber and Furniture Hub in KZN, undertaken for the KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs
- Consultant for a study into the Public and Private Sector Development in the Forest Products Industry in Southern Africa, commissioned by the African Forest Forum, based in Nairobi.
- R&D: Developing composting techniques for wattle bark spents and the establishment of Fibregro Products.
- Expert Witness assignments for spread of fire, contract disputes and timber theft as well as undertaking a number of quantum assessments for spread for fire insurance claims.
- Developing the DCF mode used by SAFCOL to value their biological assets.
- Biological Asset Reports and Peer Review of same.
- Forestry forensic investigations relating to theft, fraud and spread of fire.
- He currently serves on the National Committee developing Forestry Valuation standards for South Africa.
- University of KwaZulu Natal: 2004 MBA (Top Student Award)
- University of KwaZulu Natal: 2002 Diploma in Management
- Stellenbosch University: 1978 BSc Forestry Honours BSc. Forestry (Hon)
- Stellenbosch University: 1976 BSc Forestry BSc. Forestry 1976
MEMBERSHIPS OF PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS:
- Member of the South African Institute of Forestry. Membership number 0177
- Forest Finance and Valuation, Stellenbosch University 2015
- International Forestry Valuation, Stellenbosch University 2018
- Wild Land Fire Origin and Cause Determination, Dynamic Incident Management (Pty) Ltd. 2021
- Dobson, D. 2004. A Survey amongst Growing Media Producers in the United Kingdom with the View
To Establishing Distribution Channels for Fibregro Exports. Thesis: Masters in Business Administration.
University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
- Dobson, D. 2008. A Foresters Handbook. Information Resource for Emerging Entrepreneurs.
Department of Economic Development KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
- Dobson, D. 2014. A Guideline for Rural Communities to be Successful in the Forest Sector. Running
A Charcoal Business. Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Pretoria, South Africa.
I am married to a lovely lady Gill who is an accomplished artist, have two married children Matthew and Melissa and have been blessed with three grandchildren. In between I jog with my dogs in the Worldview plantations round Hilton.
Abigail is a PhD researcher at the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, UK. She is affiliated with the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society, and is funded by the Grantham Institute. She is also a committee member of the British Ecological Society’s English Policy Group where she works on government consultations and organising events on biodiversity-related challenges. Her research focuses on tropical savanna ecology and fire management strategies across African protected area landscapes to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss, increase long-term carbon sequestration, and promote resilient local livelihoods under future climate change and anthropogenic pressure. Her work takes a social-ecological systems and historical institutional approach to understand how past and present policy, management, and environmental processes impact decision-making and future systemic change. In 2022, Abigail spent six months working across the Tsavo Conservation Area, Kenya, researching equitable fire management strategies. She is currently building a social-ecological systems network to model the impacts of future climate-socioeconomic scenarios and fire management interventions in African savanna-protected areas on wildfires, savanna health, and local livelihoods, as well as on more than 60 systems variables. Previously, she led the environmental technology module on the Green Economy MSc at Bournemouth University, and continues to lecture on community-based natural resource management and participatory research methods at Imperial College London.
Johann “Savage” Breytenbach is the general manager of the Free State Umbrella FPA, a position he has held since September 2017, and founding Chair of the Mangaung Fire Protection Association (MAFPA) the first district Fire Protection Association in the Free State Province.
In August 2012, a mega wildfire devastated Savage’s community. The inability of local structures to effectively deal with this disaster combined with the lack of fire management knowledge and capacity in local communities to manage their wildfire risk and the inefficiency of local response to wildfire incidents motivated him to pursue the improvement of rural community resilience against wildfire disasters. His passionate pursuit to improve community resilience established keystone strategic partnerships enabling the practical implementation of Integrated Wildfire Management (IFM) in the Province highlighted by the following milestones:
• Development of wildfire management training programs for agrarian rural communities in collaboration with the Montana DNRC.
• Establishment of the Provincial Wildfire Forum
• Development of standard operating procedures and best operating guidelines for wildfire management in the province.
• Institutionalization of the Incident Command System (ICS) in the Free State Province.
• Formation of the Provincial Wildfire Incident Management Team
• Establishment of the Provincial Wildfire Response Task Team
• Development and implementation of the Free State Wildfire Management Framework.
As the general manager of FSUFPA he is championing the implementation of effective, sustainable, and inclusive integrated wildfire management practices on a local, regional, and provincial level.
He considers each successful activation of the Provincial Wildfire Response Task Team by the Free State PDMC as well as the marked improvement in wildfire resilience of numerous Free State and Northern Cape communities as personal highlights.
Dr Pieter Olivier is a director at M.A.P Scientific Services (MAPSS) and is passionate about using geospatial technology to solve environmental problems. His role at MAPSS focuses on innovating with new sectors and exploring opportunities at the intersection of science, technology, and sustainable development. In this capacity, he also directs MAPSS Wildfire, a geospatial solution that generates the most comprehensive dataset on wildfires in southern Africa that support organizations at the forefront of the fight against wildfires. Pieter also has more than 10 years of professional experience as a landscape ecologist with local government and international non-governmental organizations having been contracted by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), the Global Challenges Development Fund (GCDF), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Peace Parks Foundation (PPF), and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and Environment (DFFE). He has also been awarded an Ecologist in Africa grant from the British Ecological Society.
- BCompt Honours
- CA (SA): South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Mr. Grobbelaar joined the Deloitte Pretoria office in 2001 and was seconded to the Deloitte Office in Tampa Florida, USA in 2003 and later moved to the Nelspruit branch. He left the Auditing Profession in 2006 for a career in commerce and industry whereby he joined Kishugu in 2009 as a Director and CFO of the company. He participated in developing and driving the group strategy, with specific focus on Finance. His interest for aviation grew where he became more involved with Kishugu Aviation. He served on the Aviation Board since 2010 and today holds the title as CEO for Kishugu Aviation since 2018.
- NDip Company Admin
- B Compt. UNISA
- Post Graduate Diploma Corporate Governance and
- Strategic Management UNISA/ ICSA
- Professional Internal Auditor (PIA(SA))
- Certified Control Self Assessor (CCSA)
- Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
- Certified Risk Management Assurance (CRMA)