Peter Dunn may have retired from his role with the Conjola community recovery committee but he still has plenty to say about how large-scale disasters and their aftermath are handled.
The former ACT emergency services chief, who sought a quiet retirement at Lake Conjola, was thrust into the eye of the firestorm on New Year's Eve.
He and a team of volunteers quickly swung into action by setting up a relief centre.
"Everybody was quite overwhelmed emotionally with the amount of support that came through from donations of goods, cash and also labour," he says.
The lesson to be learned was that this deluge of goodwill needed to be managed.
"We were able to add a significant bit of control over the donations that came in."
That was made possible by being on the ground in the community and being able to know from fire affected residents exactly what was needed.
"We went on the front foot through Facebook and other social media sources, emails and telephone conversations," Peter says.
"We had a list of things people needed, what the people were asking for. Cleaning materials, things like this, not in bulk but in small packs that they could use, tools for the garden."
When people contacted him to say they were bringing donations, Peter and the team of volunteers based at the Lake Conjola hall made sure those utes and trailers contained items that were needed. Ensuring the donations, especially clothes, were new was also important.
"When you have a person who has suddenly lost their house and everything in it, to give them an old screwed up wrinkled T-shirt is one thing.
"But if you want to lift their morale, to give a set of clothing that is new, really uplifts them.
"The difference is extraordinary because these people suddenly feel as though they're coming back to normal."
Having a local point of contact helped the bigger charitable organisations as well.
"They need to actually validate people are genuine and, yes, we had our share of people trying to fake their way through and get stuff but locals know who they are and they can be cut out very quickly." Peter says.
Getting local government to recognise that community-led recovery was the best way to manage disaster was also vital.
Instead of viewing community-led recovery as nuisances, according to Peter, councils should engage with them.
"You can sit in the middle of an LGA and think you've got a fantastic system going but if you're not actually connecting with the community itself on the ground, how can you know?"