AS bushfires continue to rage across the state, staff from the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services boosted their field work skills in a mock orchard.
Fifteen staff members from across the Central West, Central Tablelands, Riverina, Hunter and Greater Sydney regions completed field training in biosecurity.
Emergency management officer Jamie Maddocks said it would enable them to investigate pest and disease outbreaks and maintain biosecurity on farms when responding to fires and floods.
"It also builds relationships between staff, which it vital during emergency responses," he said.
Teams had to correctly dress in personal protective equipment, visit a mock orchard of plants laden with photos of a disease rather than a real disease, take observations and samples and then interview a mock landowner to try and identify where the problem came from and how widespread it might be.
Fellow emergency management officer Chris Lane said it was a way of learning in a non-threatening environment.
"Then it's a bit more second nature," he said.
The session followed air training for staff last month, where staff learned how to locate and monitor isolated stock during disasters.
Neale Whitsed from Albury was at Wednesday's training after working in an aircraft at bushfires near Grafton in recent weeks where the team rescued a litter of isolated bulldog puppies.
"They were cute, and all over us," he said.
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