Two brigade captains who led the fight against the Dunns Road bushfire have called for better communications and more air support during an encounter with the Rural Fire Service Commissioner.
Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons visited Tumbarumba on Wednesday, along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
Tumbarumba RFS brigade captain Alan French and Glen/Mannus captain Ian Weule took the opportunity to explain to the Commissioner how the bushfire response could have gone better.
Mr French said RFS communications "were failing in places" during the bushfire.
The region lost mobile phone services after the fire damaged towers at Tumbarumba and Jingellic.
"My recommendation after all this is that there should be [satellite] phones in each emergency vehicle," Mr Weule said.
"There was a loss of electricity, the loss of mobile phones, internet and text, and the landlines went down after six hours because the battery backups ran out."
Mr Weule said a lot of changes would likely be coming in a review of the bushfire response including "sweeping changes in attitudes towards back burning".
Mr French said the brigades on the Dunns Road incident "couldn't get resources" while bushfires raged across the state.
"We just couldn't get crews as they were out everywhere," he said.
"We thought we were on our own for a lot of the time. I prayed for a lot of things and a lot of miraculous things happened," Mr Weule said.
Mr French said his brigade's trucks had two new pumps fail during the fire, one after 113 hours and one after 19 hours.
The two captains also said there was a lack of air support and it would have been good to have the Royal Australian Air Force involved earlier.
An RFS spokesperson told The Daily Advertiser that all issues raised by firefighters would be considered in a major bushfire incident review.
The spokesperson said the Commissioner did recall the two captains mentioning the need for satellite phones but did not recall any mention of other concerns but they could be considered.
Heroes of the Home Front: It has been Australia's lost summer. Drought, hail, floods and, worst of all, bushfires have ravaged communities all over the nation.
But the selfless actions of friends, family, neighbours, strangers, local groups and volunteer organisations have inspired us and strengthened the bonds of community.
Please join us in saying thanks to the heroes of the home front by sharing your stories of gratitude. To salute a person or a group, please go to dailyadvertiser.com.au/thanks.