EVERY year the state's best volunteer firefighters gather to put their skills to the test at the annual firefighting championships.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) to rethink it's plans due to the state government's restrictions surrounding mass gatherings.
For the first time, this year's event will largely be held online as teams will film themselves performing drills to be judged by an expert panel.
Tamworth RFS superintendent Allyn Purkiss said teams were ready to work around the restrictions.
"Normally, all the teams from across the state would come together in one big gathering for a one or two-day competition," Superintendent Purkiss told the Leader.
"Obviously we are unable to do that this year because of the coronavirus, so the competition has been broken down into several rounds of competition.
"It will act as a bit of a tournament and will allow for all the teams to gather at their stations, complete the drills, film the drills and submit them for judging.
"If they are successful they will go onto the next stage and hopefully culminate in some sort of in-person championship event later in the year."
Initially slated to be held in Wollongong, the championships bring the best crews in the state together, including Kootingal, which has regularly been a top performer at the annual event.
"We're still hoping to hold the finals in Wollongong on a much smaller scale and we're hoping the finals will still be somewhat similar to how the whole competition is usually run," Superintendent Purkiss said.
"It is a long way away from what we'd normally do, so all of our guys have had to adapt.
"However, the teams were eager to still do it and we came up with this workaround, which will give them something to aim for."
In comparison, the future of Fire and Rescue NSW's firefighting championships is still up in the air.
Fire and Rescue zone commander Tom Cooper said he was unsure when a decision would be made about this year's events.
"I'm not too sure what's going to happen with this year's events, but I know it's up for discussion at the moment," he said.
"All of our teams are really keen, but at the moment we will just have to wait and see."
Superintendent Purkiss said teams would begin filming their drills in the coming weeks.
"At this stage they don't know what they will have to do, so it should be pretty interesting," he said.
"In a few weeks, they will start doing their drills and sending them through to the judges."