Reducing the Whiskey Fire Hazard

Reducing the Whiskey Fire Hazard

Posted: 08 October 2015

Maybe you know that liquid Whiskey is flammable, but did you know that Whiskey grass is too?

Whiskey grass is a weed of roadsides, disturbed sites, waste areas, pastures, wetlands, grasslands and open woodlands. It is a long-lived tussocky grass that usually grows about  half to one metre tall. Preferring open sunny areas, it is particularly common along tracks and on roadsides. Whiskey grass remains as a hidden tuft of leaves during spring and summer, but in autumn it sends up numerous very upright leafy stems that produce vast quantities of fluffy wind-borne seeds. These stems quickly turn brownish-orange and die off by the end of autumn, when they are very obvious and highly flammable.

Originally native to the Americas, it is thought to have been introduced to Australia prior to 1900 in packing with American whiskey bottles. It is common in south-eastern Queensland, eastern  New South Wales and some parts of Victoria, with patches evident around Albury Wodonga.

And that's where the Green Army team come in, spending their first day in the field today hand removing seed heads and chipping out the roots of the plants along the Bonegilla Rail Trail. Back at Parklands, the seed heads will be solarised in black plastic to kill the seeds.

Ranger Tim Alexander was pleased with the day's  progress. "Its a pretty tough thing to start on, but everyone gave it a good go today". The team will be striving to remove as much of the local infestation as possible before fire season, as the dry fluffy seed heads are a serious fire risk.