VOLUNTEERS and community groups banded together when fires swept across the region.
One of the main meeting points for emergency services was the Tenterfield airstrip.
It was the first major emergency since the Friends of Tenterfield Aerodrome took over the lease from council earlier this year.
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Group president Rob Evans said it was a community effort in making sure they were equipped to handle the fires.
In August, despite funding having not arrived, the committee ordered a 200,000 litre firefighting water tank.
Bushman Tanks were able to meet their delivery estimate and the tank was installed on October 18.
"Peter Jones funded this by paying the deposit on the tank," Mr Evans said.
"We did this because of the high fire risk and the eight-week lead time to get the tank manufactured and delivered.
"Our preparation for the installation was a bit of a scramble, but we had great support from members, other volunteers and local businesses.
"We pumped water from our 30,000 litre tank into the new tank and mayor, Bronwyn Petrie, coordinated with RFS for them to put several truckloads of water into the tank.
"This had to be done the day the tank was installed in order to hold down the internal liner."
That same day, helicopters started operating out of the aerodrome to fight the fire that had started at Rocky River.
Within two days, the Rural Fire Service was able to set up a forward operations base at the aerodrome.
"The RFS called in six helicopters for firebombing, as well as the Fire Boss flown by Peter Jones and an AT802 air tractor flown by Troy Thomas," Mr Evans said,
"We were able to buy a pipe and a pump to run between our two tanks, and a pump to pump water into the aircraft at the rate of 1000 litres per minute.
"This meant that the air tractor could be filled, take off, dump water on a nearby fire and be back for water in about 10 minutes."
Meanwhile the Fire Boss was scooping up water from Glenlyon Dam to dump on fires.
Mark Hughes donated the use of their road roller to flatten some of the worst lumpy areas on the runway and apron.
"Having the roller on site for the next couple of weeks was very helpful, as we could repair damage to the apron caused by all the aircraft and fuel truck movements, and also open up a couple of temporary taxiways to cope with the traffic," Mr Evans said.
"We were also able to supply water from our tank to an RFS truck for local firefighting.
"Despite being cobbled together in a rush, our water system worked very well."
With the air tractor not having to fly to Casino or Glen Innes to load water, it was able to dump six times as much water as it otherwise could on the fires around Tenterfield.
"On one day we loaded over 80,000 litres of water and fire suppressant into the air tractor.
"The RFS teams on the ground and in the air did a fantastic job and the aerodrome played a key role - which was exactly what we all wanted when we started this journey.
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