Firewood collectors reminded of season closure
Thursday 9 August, 2012
Firewood collectors across the state are being reminded that the next opportunity to collect firewood on public land will be during the spring season commencing September 1.
The reminder follows a number of incidents across the state where trees have been illegally felled on public land.
Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) Land and Fire Regional Manager, North East, Alan Dobson, said it is illegal to cut down standing trees for firewood or any other purpose.
“Only fallen timber can be collected from designated firewood areas during the spring and autumn firewood collection seasons,” Mr Dobson said.
“People collecting firewood on public land outside the designated seasons are committing an offence under the Forests Act 1958.”
The maximum penalty for illegally felling, cutting or removing forest produce is a fine of up to $7042 and / or 12 months imprisonment for each offence under the Act.
Mr Dobson said the firewood seasons combined with specific designated collection areas and limits helps ensure that the collection of firewood from public land is undertaken in a sustainable and equitable way.
“The seasons aim to minimise risks to people, the environment and other forest assets by avoiding firewood collection during winter and periods of highest fire danger.
“Firewood collection is only allowed from designated firewood collection areas for personal use.
“We will continue to conduct targeted patrols in forest and parks to ensure that firewood collection is being undertaken in a sustainable way.”
DSE recommends that people purchasing firewood should first check that they are buying it from a legal source, such as someone who has a commercial forest produce licence from the Department of Primary Industries.
The spring season will remain open until November 30, however it may be closed early if a fire danger period is declared.
For further information about firewood collection on public land visit www.dse.vic.gov.au/firewood or contact the DSE Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
Members of the public can report environmental and wildlife crime to DSE on 136 186.
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