'Hairy panic' takes over Australian town

Residents of an Australian town are digging out after winter winds brought “Hairy panic” to town.

Hairy panic, also known as Panicum effusem, is a type of grass designed to be picked up and carried long distances after dying, in order to spread its seeds.

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The tumbleweed has been piling up for days against walls and fences in Wangaratta, a town about 250 km from Melbourne.

One woman told 7 News she recently spent eight hours stuffing the weeds into garbage bags, only to wake up the next morning with more piled as high as her waist.

The local government has said that they don’t consider the weed a fire hazard, so they won’t help with cleanup.

It’s not clear what’s causing the sudden influx of Hairy panic, but some suspect an unusually dry and hot summer has helped it grow. Temperatures in Wangaratta hit 43 C in January and have hovered around 30 C in February, according to Australian Government statistics.



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