If fighting fires was not challenging enough, volunteers on the Border also spent their summer battling issues with radio communications.
Beechworth CFA members did not have fires in their own patch this summer, but went to the NSW south coast early in the fire season, then Upper Murray and Myrtleford in January, manning trucks for 12-hour days over weeks at a time.
The brigade's captain Bruce Forrest was one of the volunteers from across the country to give evidence at the National Natural Disaster Arrangements Royal Commission on Friday.
He said the Victorian radio system worked well when communicating within the CFA and with other agencies like Parks Victoria and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, but not with the NSW Rural Fire Service.
"That's why when you look over the border you think 'it doesn't work like ours does'," he said.
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"It's always challenging because the radio communications don't work.
"All you can do is rely on line of sight and hopefully you've got a UHF radio and you're both on the same channel.
"The Murray River is between you but, bar getting out and waving, there's not really much you can do.
"That's probably the most challenging thing and we're only half an hour from the border."
The communication issues within Victoria came when firefighters needed to go into mobile blackspots.
It's always challenging because the radio communications don't work.- Beechworth fire brigade captain Bruce Forrest
"Because we're in the great divide there's always going to be blackspots, it's just one of those facts of life," Mr Forrest said.
He said brigades came up with their own solution to the issue of the Victorian and NSW equipment not matching up, carrying some NSW fittings in the back of the truck for when they get involved in a cross-border fire.
The commission was also told about the Beechworth brigade, which has about 40 members.
"Some of those are some of the most experienced members you'd find anywhere because of what we've had in the past 20 years," Mr Forrest said.
"Half the town is classed as extreme fire risk ... As a firefighter, Beechworth can be quite challenging at times."
He said he would like to see their members get four-wheel drive training, but it was neglected because it was not a statewide priority.