We share the sadness of our community over the loss of the trees in the June storm, and understand the community’s drive to ensure their value is appreciated.
In these early stages of the response, we have had to prioritise the moving of tree material out of the storm effected areas, in order to help clear roads and reserves.
There is a significant volume of clean-up work still required across the Yarra Ranges. While we understand the desire to cut the material on the roadsides and take it for firewood, the potential risk to the individual, as well as other road users, is not something that Council can encourage.
Since the June 2021 Storm, Council has worked hard to ensure as much of the fallen timbers are reused locally. It has held two free firewood sessions and over 1,000 residents received 3/4m3 each. Approximately 17,000m3 of mulch was also provided free to the community.
In the months following the storm logs were being temporarily stockpiled and Council was working with other agencies to assess how they can be most effectively and respectfully utilised. Already, a large proportion of these fallen trees have been reused in a variety of locations including helping to landscape the Yarra Valley Trails. Others have been given to the community for use by artists or community groups including the Yering based, Lilydale and Mooroolbark Pony Club who have been making use of some new jumps as equestrian obstacles.
Blackwood logs which came down in the storm are a very popular species of tree, which is why following an expression of interest process we gave 182 to a variety of artists, sculptors and community groups in our region. We hope to see some of these trees make their way back into the community.
Additionally, certain fallen logs and stumps collected during the storm clean-up are being repurposed in bushland sites to create habitat for our local fauna including the threatened Powerful Owl.
The logistics behind harvesting, sorting and distributing logs from trees that fell during the June storm are complex, and beyond the normal scope of our resources.
Vic Forests have information on their website (click here: VicForests) for property owners who are interested in disposing of logs from their property. The logs must a minimum of 3m long and 40cm in diameter to qualify for this project.
Bushfire Recovery Victoria have recently announced a program to assist private property owners with clean-up of private property. To be eligible for the clean-up program, the affected property must contain structures – or buildings – that were destroyed or classified as being damaged beyond repair. Further information regarding this program, including a link to the registration form, is available on the Bushfire Recovery Victoria website: Storm and flood clean-up program | Victorian Government (www.vic.gov.au)
Branches that are up to 3m long and 25cm in diameter can be collected as part of Yarra Ranges Council’s Special Storm Event Branch Collection. Further information can be found on our website at Special storm event tree branch collection Yarra Ranges Council.