FIREWOOD collectors are being urged to responsibly source firewood this spring to help protect the state’s threatened native wildlife populations.
The spring firewood season runs until the end of November.
The Conservation Regulator is warning that illegally cutting or removing trees for firewood is affecting the survival of species reliant on dry, dead hollow-bearing trees for habitat.
Victorians can help protect these species by sticking to designated firewood collection areas.
Chief Conservation Regulator, Kate Gavens, said the state’s forests were home to a diverse range of native species that rely on all people to source firewood responsibly.
“This spring, we know Victorians will be gathering their firewood, but it’s crucial that people follow the rules and don’t damage the forest homes of native wildlife to heat their own,” Ms Gavens said.
Conservation Regulator, Forest Fire Management Victoria crews and Parks Victoria rangers are patrolling state forests, parks and reserves and will target illegal firewood gathering.
Last year, officers issued 290 infringement notices for illegally removing firewood totalling nearly $84,300.
Officers can issue $740 fines to those caught breaking the rules, and serious offences can result in maximum penalties of $9200 or up to a year in prison.
If offences are suspected of being linked to an illegal commercial operation, officers may also seize chainsaws, trailers and vehicles.
Parks Victoria enforcement and regulatory services manager, Mark Breguet, said the illegal removal of firewood had impacts that lasted for generations.
“It is critical for the protection of these areas that people only gather firewood for domestic purposes and from designated firewood collection areas,” he said.
For details of where, when and what firewood can be collected, visit ffm.vic.gov.au/firewood/firewood-collection-in-your-region
Report suspected illegal firewood collection by calling 136 186.