Victorians are now able to collect free firewood for personal use from state forest firewood collection areas until Thursday 30 November.
Forest Fire Management Victoria, Acting Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Jarrod Hayse said firewood collection is only allowed in designated firewood collection areas during a firewood season.
He urged collectors to play it safe and check local weather conditions as well as their planned route before heading into the forest.
“Coming out of winter, access to some firewood collection areas might be restricted until tracks dry out and conditions are safe.
“When collecting, please drive only on formed roads, be aware of the environment around you and safety of yourself and others as trees may fall or drop limbs without warning,” he said.
Mr Hayse said people can collect up to two cubic metres per person per day with a maximum of 16 cubic metres per household per financial year and encouraged people who rely on firewood for heating and cooking to plan their needs early.
“Firewood collected during the spring and autumn seasons needs at least 8-12 months to cure and be dry before use. We prioritise firewood availability for local communities and those who depend on firewood as their primary source of heating and cooking.”
Firewood collection from designated collection areas in the Upper Murray will be restricted to residents of Towong Shire and specific post codes within adjoining local government areas, including:
- City of Wodonga within postcodes 3691 and 3690.
- Indigo Shire within postcodes 3691 and 3695.
- Alpine Shire within postcodes 3691, 3697, 3698 and 3699.
Financial assistance is available for people on low incomes who buy firewood: www.ffm.vic.gov.au/firewood/energy-concession-and-support. Find your local collection area here: www.ffm.vic.gov.au/firewood/firewood-collection-in-your-region
“Most people do the right thing and stick to the collection limits, but people should know authorised officers will be patrolling parks, forests and reserves to catch those who aren’t.”
Officers can issue on-the-spot fines of $769 to those caught breaking the rules, and serious offences have a maximum penalty of $9,615 and/or one year in prison.
Community members can help by reporting any suspected illegal firewood collection on 136 186.