The Defence Force was "difficult to work with" and "did not help" after being deployed to support Canberra's bushfire response, according to ACT Rural Fire Service staff.
Rural Fire Service staff had reservations about the military's role in responding to the unfolding crisis, according to their feedback to the Emergency Service Agency's "after action review" into the ACT's bushfire season.
Their feedback made no mention of Defence's role in inadvertently igniting the Orroral Valley fire, which ultimately burnt through more than 80 per cent of Namadgi National Park and threatened Canberra's southern suburbs.
The blaze was sparked by a landing light from a Defence MRH-90 Taipan helicopter, which was completing a reconnaissance mission deep inside the national park on January 27.
The agency's internal review, which The Canberra Times has obtained, included observations from Rural Fire Service staff about Defence after personnel were "embedded" inside the agency's Incident Management Team on January 4.
The move came as Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a call-out of army reservists to assist the response to the bushfires raging across southeastern Australia.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr had declared a "state of alert" for the ACT two days earlier, as fires burning in the Snowy Mountains region loomed over the territory's southwestern border.
In what they categorised to the internal review as a "surprise", ACT Rural Fire Service staff said Defence "was difficult to work with".
They recalled that the "efficiencies" expected to result from their involvement "never materialised".
The review heard that most tasks had a three-day turnaround, while it appeared that the ADF and RFS were "speaking different languages".
"In summary, arrival of ADF did not help," staff told the review, although they added that Defence did provide "some value .. towards the end".
The Rural Fire Service staff claimed in the review that "political agendas ... and the desire to use the ADF" meant that local firms were overlooked for jobs.
In a statement to The Canberra Times, a Defence spokesman said it was unaware of the Emergency Services Agency's internal review.
The spokesman said it stepped in to support the agency at the request of the ACT government.
He said Defence provided wide-ranging assistance during the response, including with aerial fire imagery, establishment of fire breaks and containment lines, door knocking, medical support, equipment maintenance, debris and road clearance, traffic control, and accommodation and catering for emergency responders and evacuees.
He said Defence supplied two liaison officers who helped provide direct lines of communication between the agency and the military during the response.
In late February, Emergency Services Agency Commissioner Georgeina Whelan and other senior officers visited HMAS Harman near Queanbeyan to thank Defence for their support during the bushfire season.
The agency, Emergency Services Minister Mick Gentleman and Chief Minister Andrew Barr have backed the handling of the bushfire response, but are refusing to comment on any specific allegations while the review is ongoing.