'Hairy panic' tumbleweed causing misery for Wangaratta residents

'This is a daily issue we have down here and a massive fire hazard'

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The Independent Online

Growing mountains of tumbleweed are causing misery for residents in the Australian city of Wangaratta, who are forced to spend hours clearing them up every day.

Images and videos show the tumbleweed, called ‘hairy panic’, invading the small city in Victoria by clogging up gardens and even blocking front doors.

The sandy-coloured weed is thriving due to dry weather conditions. Residents believe it may have originated from a nearby paddock which has been neglected by a farmer, according to 7 News.

Homeowners have said the tumbleweed is a daily battle because every time they spend hours clearing it up, the wind causes it to pile up again the following day. Resident Jason Perna told 7 News: “It is frustrating. You know that you’ve got a good couple of hours work ahead of you and that’s always sort of displeasing.”

Although he admitted to ABC that it was a “first-world problem”.

Some people have posted images of their homes engulfed by hairy panic on the Rural City of Wangaratta’s Facebook page. Matt Thewlis said: “This is a daily issue we have down here and a massive fire hazard. You have been made aware of this a number of times with no response and now it’s time to act before it’s [too] late and our estate[s] possibly burn down.”

Mr Thewliss added: “Hope the person who owns the out-of-control paddocks in our area gets notified to do something because this is a joke and the whole estate is sick of it!”

In response, the local council said that while it understood the situation was frustrating, solving the issue was not straightforward.

“Fire Prevention Notices are issued to land-holders where there are issues such as long grass… or where, in the opinion or the Fire Prevention Officer, there is a hazard. In forming a view about a hazard the Officer also must have regard to the practicability and reasonability of managing any hazard and what the likelihood of the hazard is overall.”

ABC reported that the local council was considering sending out street sweepers to deal with the tumbleweed.