The autumn firewood collection season starts across Victoria today (March 1) and will close on Friday, June 30.
Forest Fire Management Victoria acting program manager forest management and roading Brady Childs said once the firewood collection season was under way, it was important people only collect firewood from within designated firewood collection areas and stay within collection limits.
‘‘Designated collection areas are put in place to protect sites of cultural and environmental significance,’’ Mr Childs said.
‘‘Also, some households rely on firewood for winter energy so consider others when taking wood.
‘‘People should check where designated collection areas are in their local area. They should also check local weather and forest conditions to make sure it’s safe before collecting firewood.’’
Mr Childs said last autumn, a new system was introduced in river red gum parks, reserves and forests to ensure local residents were given priority access to their local firewood.
‘‘The restrictions are still in place regarding firewood collection in river red gum parks, reserves and forests along the Murray River, which is restricted to residents from certain local government areas.’’
From March 1, maps showing designated collection areas will be available on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.
Permission from local government is needed for the collection of firewood from roadsides under their management.
VicRoads does not currently allow firewood collection on roadsides it manages.
Roadside collection of firewood in state forests is only allowed in a designated collection area
Infringement notices for illegal firewood collection are $622, with maximum penalties for offences under the Forest Act 1958 standing at $7773, one year imprisonment or both.
●For more information about firewood collection, go to: www.delwp.vic.gov.au/firewood or phone 136186.
●Any information about the illegal removal of firewood for sale can be reported to DELWP on 136186 and quote ‘Operation Axe’.