The ACT government's lack of acknowledgement of the damage caused to private property in the Orroral Valley blaze has been a "kick in the guts" to farmers, a Legislative Assembly inquiry has heard.
Grazier Steve Angus also raised further questions about the immediate response to the Namadgi National Park blaze during evidence to the first public hearing at the inquiry into the ACT's devastating fire season.
While much has rightly been made of the enormous environmental destruction caused by the Orroral Valley fire, very little has been said about the damage to private farms on the ACT's southern fringe.
The government and Emergency Services Agency have repeatedly pointed to the fact that no homes or lives were lost in the ACT during the the summer blaze as a measure of its overwhelming success.
Mr Angus, who runs a 1500-acre cattle farm beneath Mount Tennent, told Tuesday's public hearing that farmers were upset that authorities hadn't acknowledged the damage caused to their properties.
Mr Angus said the bill to repair damaged fencing on his property would total about $350,000.
"It has been a one-way street about the damage done to Namadgi National Park but there has been no acknowledgement that we lost fencing ... there has been damage to buildings," he told the hearing.
"That is a real kick in the guts for the landholders.
"For them to stand up and say that no private assets were damaged ... that hurts."
Mr Angus provided another perspective to the early response to the Orroral Valley blaze, echoing a number of concerns expressed by senior volunteer Garry Mayo about the effectiveness of large air tankers in suppressing fires in dense forested areas.
Mr Angus, who is a former Tharwa Rural Fire Service brigade captain, told the hearing that crews were managing to "hold" the fire in the hours after it ignited on Monday, January 27, before they were pulled off the fire ground while they waited for an air tanker to drop fire retardant.
The crews' trip back to the fireground was delayed because they had to clear trees and branches which had been knocked down by the retardant, he said.
"By the time they got back to where they were ... the fire had jumped the fire trail and they had lost it."
Mr Angus said he watched the air tanker make "7-8" retardant drops near Mount Tennent on the Tuesday. The entire area had been scorched by the weekend.
"In my mind the air tankers aren't that effective in forested areas," he said.
In his evidence, which was delivered on behalf of the Rural Landholders' Association, Mr Angus also described the disconnect between the team coordinating the response to the Orroral Valley fire from Emergency Service Agency headquarters and the crews on the frontline.
Mr Angus praised Rural Fire Service liaison officer Chris Condon, who was tasked with communicating with the farmers during the emergency.
But he said the agency's incident management team, which was steering the response from its Fairbairn headquarters, were not "listening to people on the ground".
"They didn't have a good hold on what was happening on the fireground," he said.