Six Upper Murray events this week aim to identify what needs to improve in fire preparedness and response.
Community debriefing sessions about last summer's bushfires will be held in Corryong, Cudgewa, Tintaldra, Nariel Valley and Walwa.
The 2019/2020 fires impacted 935 properties, destroyed 40 homes and burned almost 225,000 hectares within Towong Shire.
Mayor David Wortmann said such debriefs would normally occur much sooner, but COVID-19 restrictions had not made that possible.
"This region suffered huge personal and business losses, especially in the agricultural sector," he said.
"These debrief sessions will allow fire-affected communities to come together to reflect on their experiences and engage with emergency management agencies."
Co-ordinated by Towong Council and Bushfire Recovery Victoria, the sessions will be led by Benalla-based independent facilitator Cath Botta.
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Guys Forest farmer George Kucka, whose land was burned out in the fires, planned to attend one of the sessions.
"It's a good way of talking with other people with the same shared experiences and you can move forward," he said.
"We can discuss the issues that we had post-fire, things that happened well for us, and obviously things that didn't happen very well."
Mr Kucka hoped it would help authorities respond better to any future disasters, feeling smaller Upper Murray communities were forgotten in "the enormity of the situation".
"It goes from a nothing event to just catastrophic and you can't plan for that," he said.
Also deputy group officer for the Corryong group CFA, Mr Kucka said the debriefs would still be worthwhile, even though delayed.
"There's still a lot of angry people out there, a lot of people who are still traumatised by what happened and they need to talk and hopefully this will give closure," he said.
Debrief schedule -
Monday, February 22: Corryong - Corryong Memorial Hall, 6pm
Tuesday, February 23: Thowgla - Corryong Youth Club Hall, 10.30am; Cudgewa - Cudgewa Football Club, 6.30pm
Wednesday, February 24: Tintaldra - Tintaldra Hall, 10.30am; Nariel Valley - Nariel Recreation Reserve, 6.30pm
Thursday, February 25: Walwa - Walwa Recovery Centre, 10.30am
Monday, March 15: Biggara - Biggara Hall, 10.30am; Towong - Towong Hall, 6.30pm
Tuesday, March 16: Berringama/Lucyvale - 6.30pm at Lucyvale Hall
Registrations are required to ensure the sessions are COVID-safe. To register, go to recoveryhub.eventbrite.com or call the Upper Murray Community Recovery Hub on 1800 518 222.
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