A 37-year-old Rushworth man was fined $727 last month and had his chainsaw and two hydraulic wood splitters seized for illegally removing firewood from the Redcastle-Greytown State Forest.
The man was reported to have removed firewood in August, before the designated firewood collection season began on Wednesday 1 September.
Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) Acting Senior Forest and Fire Operations Officer Nick Whatley said Authorised Officers fined the man following a successful investigation into community reports of illegal firewood collection in the Rushworth area.
“Illegal firewood collection is a serious offence and will not be tolerated,” Mr Whatley said.
“Anyone found cutting or taking firewood from state forests outside of the firewood collection period or designated areas will be fined and potentially prosecuted.
“It’s great that most people are doing the right thing and stick to the collection seasons and designated areas, however people should know authorised officers regularly patrol parks, forests and reserves to catch those who aren’t.
“We would also like to thank community members who contacted DELWP to report this suspicious behaviour. It is through community reporting that we were able to identify and fine the man in this instance.”
Firewood is a shared resource that needs to be managed in a sustainable way to protect the environment, and that is why those caught breaking firewood collection rules can face penalties of up to $9,087 or a year in prison. Vehicles and equipment may also be seized.
Conservation Regulator and FFMVic Authorised Officers are authorised to enforce environmental laws and conduct frequent patrols in forests and parks, targeting the illegal collection of firewood from public land.
The community can also report the illegal cutting or removal of firewood anonymously by calling 136 186 or their local depot.
The 2021 spring domestic firewood collection season runs from 1 September until 30 November.
For more information on where to collect visit ffm.vic.gov.au/firewood/firewood-collection-in-your-region.
Information about firewood collection rules be found at https://www.vic.gov.au/collecting-firewood.
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