Watch out for illegal firewood

Warning: Parks Victoria and the Conservation Regulator are on the lookout for illegal firewood collection. Photo by Alexandra Bathman

Parks Victoria and the Conservation Regulator are urging people not to purchase illegal firewood this winter.

Each year Victorians unintentionally buy illegally sourced firewood, which can lead to the loss of important wildlife habitat such as hollow logs and dead trees.

"The illegal removal and sale of firewood from parks and reserves causes impacts that last for generations,“ Parks Victoria senior manager enforcement and regulatory services Mark Breguet said.

“It is critical for the protection of these areas and the species that rely upon timber for habitat, that purchasers of firewood ensure it is legally sourced.”

The Conservation Regulator targets those suspected of unlawfully collecting and selling firewood from public land.

“We’re asking the community to help us catch those doing the wrong thing,” Conservation Regulator director regulatory operations Ash Bunce said.

The community can play a key role by reporting any suspicious behaviour to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on 136 186.

“If the firewood seems relatively cheap compared to other local sellers or the seller can’t tell you where the wood is from, it could be because it has been obtained illegally, and most likely from public land such as national parks or state forests,” Mr Bunce said.

Offenders found guilty of cutting or taking away more than two cubic metres of fallen or felled trees from Crown land face a maximum penalty of $9087 and/or one year imprisonment.

Individuals may also face an additional fine of up to $9087 for destruction of wildlife habitat, while vehicles and equipment such as chainsaws and trailers may also be seized and forfeited upon conviction.