A NSW Rural Fire Service Superintendent says the Border has proven to be one big community after interstate crews worked together seamlessly to tackle the Barnawartha blaze.
Patrick Westwood said three strike teams were sent almost immediately when the incident was reported as an escalating grass fire at 11am Sunday.
Crews from right across the Southern Border region went to help their Victorian counterparts and played a vital role in stopping the fire heading toward major townships.
CFA district 24 operations manager Paul King praised the efforts of both NSW services while they were out in the fire zone.
“Yet again, the RFS and Fire and Rescue NSW, who are our very nearby buddies across the Border came out help,” he said.
“An RFS strike team got to the Beechworth-Wodonga Road just as the fire crossed the road.
“That would have been a whole new world, that was the fire that was going to burn into Yackandandah and Baranduda and some very heavily populated communities, so yet again they came to help us.”
NSW crews worked around the Indigo Creek Road on Sunday and returned on Tuesday to assist with further containment and mopping up.
Mr Westwood said a debrief on Sunday revealed several stories where members were able to save property, livestock and houses.
“The crew reported some severe fire activity which tested them to their limits,” he said.
“It was a really positive debrief, they were going into an area they weren’t familiar with.
“They talked about how well they worked in with the CFA and how easy it was to do the job with them with assistance of aircraft.
“They also said it was a big learning exercise on how to deal with people in the event of a fire, dealing with stock and a bit about fire behaviour in general - it was quite an erratic fire.”
There was one story which really stuck with Mr Westwood involving a man who wished to check on relatives who lived in the Indigo Valley.
The man called into the Albury Control Centre, but they had no information for him at that stage.
“We received a phone call that night to say RFS crews had saved his relatives house and property - it was a reminder for us about why we do the job,” Mr Westwood said.
“We are in it to help people - everyone came home safe and uninjured which is even better.”
The RFS warned the bushfire should act as a wake-up call for people living rurally.
To learn what to do before, during and after a fire, visit www.myfireplan.com.au.