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Plan ahead for flood impact on spring firewood

Wednesday 28 August, 2013

Residents are urged to plan ahead for firewood collection this Spring as flooding and wet conditions have impacted the opening of designated firewood collection areas in River Red Gum parks in Northern Victoria on 1 September.

Parks Victoria Northern Rivers District Manager Peter Livitsanis said recent rain in the Upper Murray catchments and environmental flows along the Murray, Goulburn and Ovens Rivers have limited safe access to some parks.

"Firewood collection in River Red Gum parks will be subject to flooding and wet conditions this season," said Mr Livitsanis.

"Domestic firewood collection areas near Barmah, Shepparton and Yarrawonga will remain closed until conditions improve to protect public safety, as well as the environment and tracks."

Firewood collection in some parks including Barmah National Park may not be feasible this Spring.

"We will closely monitor conditions and let the community know if we can open areas as they dry out pending weather conditions. There is currently no access to firewood collection areas in Barmah National Park due to flooding."

"We encourage people who rely on firewood as a source of fuel to check with the local Parks Victoria office or the DEPI website to check what’s open before you head out," said Mr Livitsanis.

Anyone unable to collect their own firewood can choose to nominate someone else to collect on their behalf by completing a nomination form from the DEPI website.

The domestic firewood collection season opens from 1 September 2013 to 30 November 2013. Firewood collection is subject to available supply, fire danger ratings, flooding, wet weather and other conditions determining safe access to tracks and forest.

Firewood may only be collected for personal use from designated firewood collection areas marked by official signs during the season. Signs will display the rules and collection limits.

"DEPI and Parks Victoria staff will be patrolling parks, forests and reserves to ensure people are doing the right thing," said Mr Livitsanis.

Typical on the spot fines are around $577. Offences that go to court may be liable for fines up to $7218, one year imprisonment or both.

For more information on firewood visit www.depi.vic.gov.au/firewood or call 136 186.

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