On September 1, designated firewood collection areas in State forests opened across Victoria allowing communities to gather wood for essential personal use.

Firewood collectors across the Melbourne area are being urged to start planning their winter firewood needs prior to the opening of the spring collection season. 

On September 1, designated firewood collection areas in State forests opened across Victoria allowing communities to gather wood for essential personal use. 

All firewood collection activities must comply with Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) coronavirus requirements, prioritising the safety of the Victorian community. 

Forest Fire Management Victoria Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Shannon Devenish said: “We are anticipating an increased demand for firewood during the spring collection season.  

“However, due to a range of impacts including the coronavirus pandemic and last summer’s bushfires, it’s likely that demand will exceed supply in some areas of the region,” Ms Devenish said. 

“More people working from home during winter has led to a significant increase in the amount of wood that has been burnt.  

“As a result, we are urging people who rely on firewood for heating and cooking to consider all options, including purchasing firewood from local merchants selling legally obtained wood,” said Ms Devenish. 

Firewood can only be taken from designated collection areas in State forests during the spring collection season – 1 September to 30 November, and there are limits to how much a person can collect.  

“Designated firewood collection areas are selected based on the availability of firewood, community safety, and to protect sites of cultural and environmental significance. 

“Collection limits include taking a maximum of two cubic metres per person per day and a maximum of 16 cubic metres per household per financial year. These limits are in place to prevent households stockpiling large volumes of firewood and denying others a supply,” said Ms Devenish.  

Hollow logs and dead trees provide critical habitat for a wide variety of native species. The felling of trees and cutting of hollow logs for firewood is prohibited. 

Firewood collected from public land is for personal use only and cannot be sold. 

Firewood collection from roadsides is managed by Local Government Agencies and usually requires a permit. Residents are encouraged to contact their local councils directly for further details. 

Authorised officers patrol parks, forests and reserves to ensure people are doing the right thing. 

Under the Forest Act 1958, people who collect firewood outside designated collection areas or seasons, or take more than the maximum allowable amounts can face fines of up to $8,261, or a maximum penalty of one-year imprisonment or both, if the matter proceeds to Court. 

For further information on firewood collection or to report illegal or suspicious behaviour in public land areas, please contact the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on 136 186. 

The spring season closes on 30 November. Further information, including interactive online maps, are available at www.ffm.vic.gov.au/firewood