Don’t risk our wildlife this firewood season

Victorians are being urged to responsibly source firewood this spring collection season to protect the state’s threatened native wildlife numbers from falling further.

Wednesday, 7 September 2022 at 12:47 am

Endangered bird species such as the south-eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, found in Victoria’s west and Regent Parrots of Northern Victoria rely on large tree hollows for nesting, and people illegally cutting or removing trees for firewood is impacting their survival.

Many different marsupials in the eastern parts of Victoria are also affected as the dry, dead hollow-bearing trees they depend on are targeted by illegal firewood collectors.  

By sticking to designated firewood collection areas, Victorians can play an important part in protecting species including the small Brush-tailed Phascogale, Gippsland’s Greater Glider, and the tiny, critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum, found only in Victoria and with crucial nesting sites around outer Melbourne.  

Conservation Regulator Authorised Officers, Forest Fire Management Victoria crews and Parks Victoria rangers are patrolling state forests, parks and reserves and will target anyone attempting to take firewood illegally.

Officers can issue infringement notices of up to $740 to those caught breaking the rules, and serious offences can result in maximum penalties of $9,246 or up to a year in prison. If it’s suspected of being linked to an illegal commercial operation, officers may also seize chainsaws, trailers and vehicles.

From May to November 2021, 290 infringement notices for illegally removing firewood were issued across Victoria with fines totalling $84,278.  

The Conservation Regulator encourages the community to assist by reporting any suspected illegal firewood collection on 136 186. 

The spring firewood season, which runs until the end of November, is one of two firewood collection seasons across the state, helping Victorians access free firewood in designated areas.  

Our forest regions are home to a diverse range of native species that rely on all of us responsibly sourcing our firewood.

This spring, we know Victorians will be gathering their firewood, but it's crucial that people follow the rules and don’t damage the forest homes of native wildlife to heat their own.

Kate GavensChief Conservation Regulator

National and State Parks are Victoria’s most iconic natural areas, and the illegal removal of firewood causes impacts that last for generations.

It is critical for the protection of these areas that people only gather firewood for domestic purposes and from designated Firewood Collection Areas.

Mark BreguetParks Victoria Manager Enforcement and Regulatory Services
Conservation Regulator Victoria