- Tuesday, 7 February 2023 at 5:40 am
A 32-year-old Myrtleford man was convicted and ordered to pay $43,030 on Friday for illegally collecting firewood, destroying wildlife habitat, and driving off-road in the Stanley State Forest in 2021.
He was found guilty of 14 offences under the Land Conservation (Vehicle Control) Regulations 2013, Wildlife Regulations 2013 and Forests Act 1958 and ordered to pay $6500 in fines, $131.50 in statutory costs and $36,399.35 to cover the Department’s legal fees.
The man was captured on concealed cameras driving off-road through the Stanley State Forest with a ute full of cut timber and a chainsaw on three separate occasions in September 2021.
Conservation Regulator Authorised Officers caught him chopping up a freshly felled dead tree into firewood rounds on a roadside near Bowmans Forest in October 2021.
In sentencing at Wangaratta Magistrates’ Court, His Honour Magistrate Watkins noted the importance of protecting state forests and the serious damage the offences cause to the environment.
In addition to the financial penalty, the man was ordered to forfeit the two chainsaws Authorised Officers seized from him in October 2021.
The area in the Stanley State Forest where the man was also caught driving illegally and collecting firewood is a Special Protection Zone, home to threatened species, including the brush-tailed phascogale, southern greater gliders and brown treecreepers.
Domestic firewood collection is only allowed in designated firewood collection areas during a firewood collection season. Only fallen timber can be collected for firewood and it is illegal to sell firewood collected from domestic collection areas.
The community is encouraged to report suspected illegal firewood collection by calling 136 186.
For more information on where to collect visit the Forest Fire Management Victoria website.
Information about firewood collection rules be found on our firewood regulation page.