A leaked letter from the Emergency Services Agency's management to ACT RFS members has condemned revealing internal documents as seeking "to damage the good reputation of the service" and claimed staff left the service due to "poor treatment".
An internal review into the handling of Canberra's latest bushfire season leaked to The Canberra Times, revealed serious concerns from staff about the ESA's senior leadership team and treatment of staff.
In a letter to Rural Fire Service members on Tuesday, RFS acting Chief Officer Rohan Scott said he was perplexed "as to why a small number of individuals seek to damage the good reputation of the service and its hardworking members".
"Degradation through a public forum does not enhance the service and its members," he wrote.
He said the release of the "Draft for Discussion" documents impeded members' privacy.
The ESA was widely praised for its handling of the Beard and Orroral Valley fires that threatened Canberra's southern region in January, with no loss to homes or lives.
However, the leaked after-action review was told firefighters considered walking off the fire ground because they felt disrespected, thousands of dollars of equipment went missing and finances were not "appropriately managed".
The ESA said it endeavoured to work in a "safe, legally compliant and financially responsible" way and welcomed chances to "reflect and improve".
In the letter, Chief Officer Scott said he was "fully aware" and committed to resolving concerns members had about the handling of the recent bushfire season, but would not do so through the media.
"It is situations like this that wear down staff and the RFS membership base," he said.
"Despite their best efforts to assist and care for our volunteers and the service, I have seen a number of good staff move on from RFHQ and volunteers leave brigades in recent times, due to poor treatment from a small number of volunteers."
"For the good of the services I will no longer tolerate this behaviour."
Addressing some of the issues raised in the after-action review, Chief Officer Scott said better respiratory protection was being considered for volunteers. After trialing several types of masks last season he said the RFS was committed to "innovation and improvement" to equipment.
He said he had received "nothing but positive feedback" from members about the handling of the Volunteer Firefighter Payment scheme, which the ESA had helped ensure was available to ACT members.
Canberra's bushfire crisis response will be subject to the ESA internal review, a review into government response conducted by ESA Deputy Commissioner Ray Johnson and the royal commission.
The ESA said it would be "inappropriate" to comment further as they were ongoing.
Emergency Services Minister Mick Gentleman said ESA Commissioner Georgeina Whelan had his continued support and it was crucial staff and volunteers were able to have their say.