Annual Fire Slash Program

Tractor mowing roadside

With the high level of recent rainfall our parks and roadsides are refreshed and bursting with spring growth. As part of yearly fire season preparations, Yarra Ranges Council is currently undertaking the slashing program to reduce the risk of fire to neighbouring communities and maintain safety for road users.

Our fire slashing program involves mowing grass in reserves and roadsides between October and January each year. Residents will see an increase in mowing in the lead-up to, and throughout, the fire season.

We run a slashing program to remove vegetation and grass that could become fuel in a grass or bushfire in our reserves and roadsides. This will mean that there will be less fuel on public land that could cause a fire to spread.

During fire slashing, variable speed limits may be enforced and motorists may experience small delays as works are completed.

Council is responsible for many of the parks, reserves and roadsides across the Yarra Ranges, however other authorities also manage fuel reduction works across the municipality, including the Department of Transport (formerly VicRoads), the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP) and Melbourne Water. 

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Fire Slash Program FAQ's

When will my road or reserve get slashed?

The critical component of the annual fire slash program commences in early November through to the end of December, with some supplementary works completed in January. 

The program follows the natural progression of the drying environment, beginning in the more open, grassed regions and ending in the cooler, moister mountain regions. For an estimate of when your road will be slashed see the annual fire slash program above. 

Mowing versus slashing

Slashing is different from normal mowing that you may see in some of our parks and roadsides. It is a broad scale cutting of grass and vegetation using a tractor. Slashing occurs once or twice a year after the spring growth.

In some instances, slashed areas may not appear ‘neatly mown’, however, the primary aim of slashing is to reduce the rate of spread and intensity of fire should it occur and to maintain traffic safety.

What if I have a concern about bushfire risk on council land?

Contact Council on 1300 368 333, or check the fire slash program to see if the area is on the program. 

If the area you are concerned about is not on the program or you are still concerned, call us on 1300 368 333 to seek clarification or submit a request for the area to be inspected.

Why didn’t they finish the job?

The roadside fire slash is undertaken with both box slashers behind a tractor, and reach arm slashers which mow the roadside embankments and more difficult areas. The reach arm slashers could take up to a week to follow up after the box slashers have been through. We appreciate your patience while the process is completed. 

Why did the slashers miss some areas?

The slashing program aims to significantly reduce the fire risk in roadsides, however Council is still required under legislation to protect significant native vegetation, including some grasses. We achieve this without impacting the effectiveness of the program. 

In some cases, smaller areas of exotic grasses and weeds cannot be reached with the equipment required to deliver such a large volume of work. This will not impact the effectiveness of the program.

Why can’t you just slash my road now?

The annual Fire Slash Program runs according to a meticulously planned schedule. We cannot pull machinery off the scheduled route for the following reasons:

⦁ The fire slash program is scheduled based on the way the municipality dries out (i.e. the areas that dry out first get cut first, and the wetter areas that dry out later are cut later).

⦁ If the contractors start cutting too early the grass will be cut while it is green and not a fire risk, and it is more likely to re-grow and dry out later, when the fire risk is higher. 

⦁ Due to the amount of planning, traffic management, and expensive equipment that goes into the cutting of each road, and the limited number of contractors who are able to carry out this specialised work, if the fire slash does not run as scheduled, the program is only delayed further. 

Why is slashing delayed?

We will delay slashing until grass is mature to ensure it best addresses risk with appropriate cost.

The ground also must be dry enough to support the weight of the tractor without getting stuck in the soft ground.