Respect the forest this firewood season

The Spring Firewood Collection Season for 2019 starts across Victoria on Sunday 1 September and closes on Saturday 30 November.

 Forest Fire Management Victoria’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Gippsland, Beth Roberts said: “Legal collection of firewood from designated areas on public land begins on Sunday 1 September 2019.

“More information and updates, including interactive maps showing designated collection areas, will be available on www.ffm.vic.gov.au/firewood from 1 September, or you can call 136 186 to find out more.

 “We want to remind the public that firewood can only be taken from designated collection areas in State forests or parks during approved times and for personal use only and cannot be sold,” Dr Roberts said.

 “It’s important that people only collect firewood from designated collection areas where collection is allowed and stay within collection limits. These designated collection areas are put in place to protect sites of cultural and environmental significance.

“It’s important to stay within collection limits, which are in place to prevent households stockpiling large volumes of firewood from public land and denying others a supply. Collection limits include taking a maximum of two cubic metres per person per day and a maximum of 16 cubic metres per household per financial year. The felling of trees and cutting of downed hollow logs for firewood is also prohibited.

 “We have a zero-tolerance approach to anyone breaking our firewood collection laws. Authorised officers are patrolling parks, forests and reserves to ensure people are doing the right thing while collecting their firewood,” Dr Roberts said.

 “Firewood is a shared public resource that provides a range of environmental values including land protection, waterway health and habitats for native wildlife, and needs to be managed in a sustainable way for the future.

 “Firewood collection areas near planned burns may close for public safety. It’s important that you check where burns are happening as affected firewood collection areas may be closed at short notice. Go to www.ffm.vicvic.gov.au/plannedburn, download the VicEmergency app or call 1800 226 226.”

 Under the Forest Act 1958, people who collect firewood outside designated collection areas or season or take more than the maximum allowable amounts can face fines of up to $8,261, or a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment or both, if the matter proceeds to Court.

 For any further information on firewood collection or to report illegal or suspicious behaviour in public land areas, please contact the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on 136 186.