26 September 2023

Firewood crackdown to save wildlife

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The Conservation Regulator and Parks Victoria have launched a State wide operation to crack down on the damage to wildlife habitat caused by illegal firewood collection in Victoria’s forests, parks and reserves.

In a statement, the Chief Conservation Regulator, Kate Gavens pointed the finger at illegal firewood collection as a cause of wildlife habitat destruction.

“We’re targeting the illegal removal of commercial qualities of firewood,” Ms Gavens said.

“Uncontrolled firewood collection can lead to the loss of important habitat such as hollow logs and dead trees,” she said.

“Following the devastating losses of wildlife in Victoria’s recent bushfires, it’s even more important that we protect wildlife habitat – our forests, parks and reserves – from illegal firewood operators.”

Ms Gavens said habitat loss had a serious impact on many iconic native species such as the Powerful Owl, South-eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Greater Glider and Pygmy Possum.

She said authorised officers would undertake patrols in forests, parks and reserves and use cameras to detect offenders.

“As organised groups are known to illegally collect firewood at night, patrols will take place at all times of the day and night and on both weekdays and weekends,” she said.

“As part of the operation, anyone caught illegally removing firewood can face a fine of up to $8,261, and vehicles and equipment may also be seized.”

Ms Gavens said that over the past few weeks the Conservation Regulator had detected thousands of tonnes of firewood that was removed illegally, reducing important supplies for hundreds of households across Victoria.

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