We are responsible for regulating firewood collection.

Significant penalties apply for illegal collection of firewood on public land.

Why we regulate firewood collection

Making sure everyone follows firewood collection rules is important because illegal collection can negatively affect forest health, wildlife habitat and public safety.

Uncontrolled firewood collection can lead to the loss of important habitat such as hollow logs and dead trees.

Habitat loss can have a serious impact on iconic native species that rely on our forests to survive, such as the powerful owl, south-eastern red-tailed black cockatoo, greater glider, pygmy possum and many others.

It can also make firewood resources unsustainable, impacting regional communities who rely on firewood for energy during the colder months.

Citizens collecting firewood with officers

What does domestic use mean?

When we talk about domestic purposes we mean you can use it in your home, for example in a wood fire, a wood stove or a fire pit.

It’s illegal to sell firewood you collect from domestic firewood collection areas. It’s also illegal to use it in commercial business or enterprise.

What can I collect?

You can only collect trees or parts of trees that are already on the ground. Don’t cut down, break off or damage a standing tree or shrub, even if it’s dead. 

Don’t collect trees that are clearly hollow or if more than half the tree is covered with moss or fungi. These trees are important for the life of the forest.

When you’re collecting firewood, it’s important that you:

  • Don’t take wood within 20m of any rivers, creeks, lakes or dams.
  • Protect native animals and plants, and respect cultural heritage sites.
  • Take any litter with you when you leave.

Are there rules or guidelines for using a chainsaw during firewood collection?

You should never use a chainsaw on a day of Total Fire Ban.

To avoid the risk of starting a fire, only use chainsaws fitted with a proper exhaust and spark arrester.

You should only refill chainsaw oil or fuel on a hard surface that the liquid cannot soak through. Don’t refill chainsaw oil or fuel on the ground.

What are the rules?

  • When collecting firewood in State forests:

    • Only drive your vehicle on formed roads or established tracks.
    • Don’t tow or winch fallen trees along the ground.

    Your vehicle and trailer combined must be less than 4.5 tonnes in weight. A combination of more than this weight can’t enter or be used in a domestic firewood collection area.

    You can’t use heavy machinery (including a bulldozer, crane, excavator, forwarder, hydraulic log splitter, saw bench, skidder, skid steer loader or tractor).

    While collecting firewood from state forests, you should:

    • Only use equipment (including chainsaws) that you’re trained to operate.
    • Use well-maintained equipment.
    • Wear appropriate safety clothing.
    • Carry a first aid kit.
    • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

    You should avoid:

    • Collecting firewood when conditions are wet, windy or hot.
    • Working alone or with children.
    • Working under broken overhead branches, around dead standing trees, on slippery ground or near mine shafts.
    • Snakes.
  • Serious penalties apply if you break the law regarding firewood collection, including fines up to $8261 or up to 1 year’s imprisonment.

    We use video surveillance cameras to monitor State forests, and Conservation Regulator works with Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Parks Victoria to conduct regular patrols of forest areas. Officers can issue on-the-spot fines or take people to court for major offences.

    If you see an offence or misconduct, please contact our Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

  • You can collect up to 2 cubic metres per person, per day.

    You cannot collect more than 16 cubic metres per household per financial year (July to June).

    A single cubic metre of split firewood will fit, neatly stacked to a height of 50cm (20 inches), into a trailer of about 1.8m (6 feet) by 1.2m (4 feet).

    Some households in regional areas rely on firewood for winter energy – please consider others when deciding how much firewood to collect.

  • No. Firewood from designated firewood collection areas is for domestic purposes only.

    It’s illegal to sell firewood you collect from domestic firewood collection areas - it’s considered a commercial activity.

  • Roadside collection for domestic firewood is only allowed in designated firewood collection areas of State forests during firewood collection season.

  • You can collect firewood for someone else if they are unable to collect it themselves and nominate you to do so on their behalf.

    If you have been nominated to collect firewood on someone else’s behalf, you must first print and complete a nomination form. As the nominee, you must carry this form with you while you collect that firewood.

    Nomination form

    Download the nomination form below or visit your local Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Regional or District office.

More information

Download the brochure:


Reviewed 26 April 2021

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