Unseasonal weather has City of Ballarat on hold for grass slashing

A person in an orange high-visibility vest and blue trousers whipper snips some long grass and weeds.

November in a normal year sees the risk of bushfire becoming very real as Ballarat’s surrounding bush and grasslands dry. However, this year sees the return of a La Nina weather pattern with widespread and consistent rainfall presenting new challenges for the City of Ballarat and landowners.  

Mayor of Ballarat, Cr Des Hudson said the City of Ballarat Emergency Management Team was monitoring the situation closely.  

“The trouble this year is we have paddocks, verges and reserves too wet to get equipment on without getting bogged, damaged or cutting or slashing ineffectively.” Cr Hudson said. 

“We are already fielding enquiries through our customer service about both private and public land having long grass and yet in most cases cutting it now, if you can get the equipment onto the property, will only see it grow back, needing to be cut again before the real bushfire risk begins.  

“The City of Ballarat are monitoring the situation and waiting on the soon to be released seasonal outlook update by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service and will be guided by recommendations from the CFA before launching into normal seasonal bushfire prevention services. 

“Whilst we would be jumping the gun at present to recommend to property owners to slash long grass, we will still be sending out 3,385 pre-season advice letters to vacant landowners of land less than 15 hectares prior to the start of inspections. These letters are not enforceable but give landowners bushfire preparedness advice and notice of when inspections will be beginning.   

“The City of Ballarat will continue to advise the public of the seasonal impact on bushfire services through our social media channels and through enquiry with Customer Service.   

“Whilst we wait for things to dry out it is a great time to begin preparing your property for the fire season, check equipment, clear rubbish and make sure you have a defendable, cleared space around your home and sheds. Most importantly check you have a bushfire safety plan for all the family, including your pets and livestock.” Cr Des Hudson said.  

Acting CFA Assistant Chief Fire Officer – Regional Command, Chris Eagle, said it was critical that people prepare now and check they have a bushfire safety plan for all the family, including pets and livestock. 

“As of 1 September this year we have a new fire danger rating system and I would urge everyone to familiarise themselves with this on our CFA website as this system is essential to your plan as the trigger for when to leave. You also need to be clear on where you will go, and what route you will take, and your plan should always consider different scenarios and back-up plans." He said.