A Gunnedah woman has swapped the fire truck for an office as she works behind-the-scenes at the Rural Fire Service's Northern Tablelands Fire Control Centre.
Gunnedah Fire and Rescue's Tammey McAllan put up her hand to join emergency services in Glen Innes as they coordinate strike crews to battle blazes in Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Armidale, Dorrigo and Tyringham. Quirindi's Sabrina McNamara also volunteered.
Ms McAllan said about 400 firefighters from NSW, ACT and Queensland were on the ground across the region and it had been "eye-opening" to learn what it takes to coordinate emergency services on such a large scale.
"The whole emergency services industry is mind-blowing... and until you're in and around it, you don't realise," she said.
"It's interesting to see how the back end runs and it's amazing to see how people really do handle the pressure.
"It's a really good experience to see it all unfold as well."
Tuesday was a huge day for emergency services as they fought to protect properties in Ewingar and Tenterfield from the Long Gully Road and Killdare Road fires.
"It was quite hard sitting back seeing the fire on the screens, knowing it's getting closer and closer to Tenterfield," Ms McAllan said.
"As a firefighter, your first instinct is to get in the car and help that way but it's such an important role here managing teams.
"I would hate to think what would have happened without that pre-planning."
Part of the pre-planning involves a weather balloon and Ms McAllan had an early start on Tuesday to help in preparing it for launch.
"All the data received from that is what is feeding back to headquarters here and gives us a rough direction of where the day is going to head ... [so] they can to prepare for bad conditions," she said.
The local is especially impressed that those experiencing drought in their own lives have left behind "jobs, farms, properties and their own time just to volunteer and help people".
As a firefighter, your first instinct is to get in the car and help that way but it's such an important role here managing teams.Tammey McAllan, Gunnedah Fire and Rescue
Despite her new knowledge and high praise for logistics personnel - "you take your hat off to all the emergency services people" - Ms McAllan still feels more comfortable on the fire ground than behind-the-scenes.
"It's certainly interesting at this end, but I think my passion is still getting out and fighting the fire," she said.
Ms McAllan and Ms McNamara will return home on Thursday after almost a week in Glen Innes.