Greater Hume Shire is pushing for NSW Rural Fire Service top brass to take more notice of local knowledge and authorities fix major communications glitches in future major bushfires.
In a submission prepared for the NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry completed this week, the council has recommended the officer in charge on the ground have increased authority in how out of control fires were managed.
Communications were also so bad on one day in early January a council staff member drove from Culcairn to Melbourne to purchase four satellite phones and 20 GPS units to ensure council staff safety.
The submission compiled by shire general manager Steve Pinnuck states that in the opinion of RFS volunteers working on the Green Valley fire last summer "insufficient credence" was given to advice from the fire ground in how best to contain the fire.
It also raised concerns about local government staff operating heavy machinery without adequate mobile phone coverage and no access to the RFS radio network.
Also radio systems used by NSW RFS and the Victorian Country Fire Authority were not compatible.
"Communications are difficult enough, but we've got to find what works best and not accept what is just dished up to us," Greater Hume mayor Heather Wilton said.
"They've also got to take notice of what the locals are saying.
"Local knowledge is everything in these situations."
The Green Valley fire started from a lightning strike on December 30 and burnt about 32,173 hectares which is about 6 per cent of the Greater Hume local government area.
The fire claimed the life of RFS volunteer Sam McPaul with eight homes also destroyed and 758km of fencing lost.
Damage on the Victorian side of the border was significant with 42 homes, 293 sheds, 5047 livestock destroyed and 3287km lost in the Upper Murray.
The government instigated an independent inquiry to provide input ahead of the next bushfire season.
"It was absolutely mayhem here," Cr Wilton said.
"Our staff did an absolutely sterling job keeping up with what was required to assist the firefighters and those who came in.
"A lot of our staff were meant to be on leave, but not one of them said no about coming back to help.
"Some were doing 12-hour shifts and from a staff and community point of view they did an outstanding job."
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Greater Hume had more than 30 staff working 24 hours per day on two 12 hours shifts, providing heavy plant and equipment, mechanical services, traffic control and refuelling of RFS tankers.
"It is still unclear to what extent these costs will be reimbursed," Mr Pinnuck wrote.
"This is an untenable situation particularly for declared Section 44 events.
"It is recommended that the funding arrangements with local government of declared Section 44 fire events under the Rural Fires Act 1997 be reviewed."
In the 1980s and 1990s most council-owned machinery contained a bushfire radio which was used for council and RFS communications, but has since been with dispensed with.
The council is recommending the RFS consider funding radios compatible with the RFS system for installation in selected council plant.
The submission has also highlighted short-comings in firefighter equipment.
"At the time of the Green Valley Fire, weather conditions were very hot with temperatures in the high 30s and several days in excess of 40," Mr Pinnuck wrote.
"This led to very oppressive, hot, dusty, dirty and smoky conditions. Reports suggest that googles and masks were in short supply from the RFS district headquarters exacerbating conditions for fire fighters.
"Given that there had been significant fire activity in other parts of the state, it was foreseeable that a significant fire event could occur.
"Sufficient stocks of personal protective equipment, including googles and masks should have been held.
"It is recommended that sufficient stocks of personal protective equipment, including googles and masks are held at district offices prior to the commencement of each fire season."