ACT News


Very little to love about dangerous African plant

An email last year from Neil Cooper to the Rural Fire Service explained just how flammable African lovegrass can be. ''We had a touch over 10mm rain up to around 21.00 followed by a calm evening and a frost, so obviously no drying occurred overnight,'' wrote Mr Cooper, who is manager of the ACT's fire management unit.

''The fuels were wet this morning and despite this, as soon as the sun hit, they became flammable.

''There are a lot of people on the burn muttering expletives because it clearly demonstrates that rainfall doesn't give us any respite when the fuels are dominated by African lovegrass and today's results further reinforce Val's previous advice and warnings about this species. We've burnt this fuel under a variety of conditions and the constant is its extreme flammability.

''Of particular concern is that when cured, it gives off hardly any smoke - it actually looks like alcohol burning because almost the only thing that can be seen is the heat shimmer - smoke is almost non-existent.''

Veteran fire fighter Val Jeffery, who is mentioned in the email, said the weed had no animal feed value, which meant it spread unhindered.

A NSW government fact sheet shows the spread from Orange through the ACT past Cooma to the Victorian border.