Farmers who suffered damage from the Dunns Road fire have called for an update to the Riverina's bushfire management plans with lessons from the devastating blaze.
The Rural Fire Service's bushfire risk management plans for the Riverina and Riverina Highlands, which include a list of towns and infrastructure that is vulnerable to fire, were first drafted in 2017 and approved in mid-2018.
Oberne Creek landowner Marilyn Starr, who lost half her farm in the Dunns Road Bushfire, said the RFS should "take heed of what has happened and update the plans accordingly".
"We have not maintained fire breaks, and that was really a problem when the fires came through," she said.
"They have got a great example here. It's a real lived experience to write their new policies and update their procedures.
"I suspect not many people know what the policies are. A few people are aware of them, the captains of the fire brigades, but the average Joe on the road doesn't know."
Ms Starr said had been "blessed" in a way as a spotfire burnt her paddocks before the fire front arrived, which slowed it down and saved her house and farm sheds.
An RFS spokesperson said the Riverina Bush Fire Management Committee was working on "minor amendments" to the region's management plan.
Oberne Creek farmer Stephen Taylor lost 10 kilometres of fencing, 20 livestock and 85 per cent of his pasture during the Dunns Road Bushfire.
Mr Taylor said that 2017 "was not that long ago" but he was "sure they learned a lot of things during the 2019/2020 fires" especially around fire trails and firefighters' lines of communication.
"The guys on the ground must have control. They have to be able to make decision on the fire front," he said.
"Irrespective of anything else, they are there, they are Johnny-on-the-spot and they know the risks.
"More control needs to be put back to the fire line rather than the hierarchy behind it all."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Mr Taylor said there was mostly voluntary for landowners to maintain fire breaks between bushland and other properties.
"Fire trails that have been put in should be maintained instead of being left to be grown over," he said.
"I'm surrounded by bushland and the only chance of preventing a fire is when it gets onto my property.
"It was probably the case for a lot of landowners that they got into trouble because they were surrounded by bushland with no fire breaks between their property and the bush block."
Under the Rural Fires Act, each RFS region's bushfire management plan must be updated every five years.
An RFS spokesperson said the management plans would be amended following a review of the bushfires in December and January.
"An After Action Review of the Dunns Road fire, of which burned 8000 hectares of land in the Riverina District, was conducted in June this year by the local Bush Fire Management Committee," the spokesperson said.
"It was determined that there were no significant changes required to the Bush Fire Risk Management Plan however a number of minor amendments which would be included and presented at the next committee meeting.
"The Riverina management plan was developed with a view to allow future growth in key residential and economic areas. This includes of the Special Activation Precinct (SAP) which is within the Bomen Industrial Estate which has been identified in the current management plan as a High priority area.
"We continue to work with Fire and Rescue NSW to ensure fire protection to the local community by both agencies."
Wagga MP Joe McGirr said "all our communities should have up-to-date plans in which it is clear what each government agency is responsible for".