Emergency workers have reenacted a blaze that came dangerously close to homes south of Wodonga.
One unoccupied home was destroyed and there had been concerns for residents at the Westmont Aged Care property.
Multiple agencies including the CFA, police and army came together yesterday to revisit the incident in real time as they prepare for the coming danger period.
CFA Regional Commander Paul King said about 50 people had been involved in the mock incident, and said there were "a few spicy parts added to it to make sure the team are well tested".
"It was a really dangerous fire that started in and around Baranduda," Mr King said.
"It burnt across quite a big area quickly.
"There were a number of things in the way of that fire, including an aged care facility and a number of homes and it burnt into some Defence area as well."
Those involved in yesterday's drill spent about six hours responding to the incident.
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Mr King said COVID-19 added some complexities to the response, and will create additional issues during the coming fire season.
"Emergencies don't go away," he said.
"COVID-19 doesn't go away as well, but we've still got to deal with the emergency.
"Every time a fire brigade goes to a fire, we learn from that.
"We've capitalised on a number of things that we might have done differently from last time."
Heavy rainfall has led to a below average forecast for bushfires this season, but an above average grass fire season is being predicted by authorities.
Mr King said the grass fire season might not start until after Christmas.
He said people who prepared their properties now might have to again undertake more work later in the season.
"We don't necessarily forecast an above average bushfire season, but from a grassfire season it's potentially going to be as difficult as it gets," Mr King said.
The forecast weather is likely to bring storms and flooding early in the fire season.
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