ACT Rural Fire Service staff have said they and the Emergency Services Agency were thought to be "considered arrogant" as they claimed information was not shared with interstate agencies, according to feedback from a leaked document.
Feedback provided to the agency's "after action review" from ACT RFS staff into the recent bushfire season claimed there was a "lack of collaboration" with agencies over the border.
Comments pointed to the ACT's online bushfire map, which did not show the surrounding areas of NSW as an example.
ACT RFS volunteers also expressed there was "reputational damage" to territory crews due to "bad prioritisation and coordination".
It said ACT crews would be heading to fight fires in NSW but were redirected back to fight fires in the territory with no communication about the change. Feedback from the ACT volunteers said NSW would be left without resources they were expecting.
The agency's internal review was leaked to The Canberra Times earlier this week. The review marked "draft for discussion" was based on 38 workshops held with volunteers and staff at the agency.
Fires burned near the ACT and NSW for most of January. Several fires burned to the west of the territory in the first half of the month, with the Adaminaby Complex fire coming within 1.6 kilometres of the border.
On January 23, the Beard fire threatened homes in Oaks Estate and west Queanbeyan and a few days after the Orroral Valley fire was ignited in Namadgi National Park.
Spot fires from the Orroral Valley blaze crossed over to NSW on January 31. The fire became known as the Clear Range fire and there were 12 homes destroyed in the Bumbalong area and in Colinton.
The review said before January 2, when a state of alert was declared, ACT RFS volunteers were being "actively used" by the NSW RFS and "morale was high and crews were keen".
But volunteers also said there were no fatigue management processes in place and "crews weren't conserved" should a fire have occurred in the ACT.
The NSW RFS did not respond directly to the comments made in the report but a spokesman said the NSW agency has "historically had an excellent working relationship" with the ACT RFS management and crews.
The spokesman said crews worked together on the Orroral Valley and Clear Range fires and the NSW RFS placed a liaison officer in the ACT Emergency Services Agency Incident Control Centre to ensure a "timely sharing of information". Likewise, there was a liasion officer from the ACT in the NSW RFS State Operations Centre.
"The NSW RFS and ACT ESA have a memorandum of understanding which details how both agencies will work together in respect to bushfire preparedness and response," the spokesman said.
"Information shared between the two agencies included incident action plans, line scan imagery, fire prediction maps and public messaging."
The Emergency Services Agency was asked about the allegations made by staff and volunteers around cross-border communication. The agency is refusing to comment on specific allegations while the review is ongoing.
A spokeswoman instead pointed to the original statement of response from the agency which said "it would be inappropriate" for the agency to comment until the review was completed.