The Conservation Regulator is conducting further inquiries after seizing illegal firewood, cash and more than $9,000 of equipment and vehicles in the Otway region.
Conservation Regulator officers conducted a targeted patrol in Otway Forest Park near Forrest earlier this month and detected a man with a trailer containing three cubic metres of illegal firewood.
Officers seized the illegal firewood, the trailer, a chainsaw and wood splitter, and interviewed the man at the scene.
The following day, officers executed a search warrant and searched the man’s property in Colac, seizing a four-wheel drive and $3,000 in cash.
This follows a major investigation by the Conservation Regulator and Parks Victoria into the illegal felling and removal of trees at numerous sites across the Otway Forest Park and the Great Otway National Park. The investigation included several months of surveillance and monitoring by Parks Victoria rangers.
Domestic firewood collection is only allowed in designated firewood collection areas during a firewood collection season. People must abide by the collection limits, which are a maximum of two cubic metres of firewood per person per day and a maximum of 16 cubic metres of firewood per household per financial year.
Only fallen timber can be collected for firewood, and it is illegal to sell firewood collected from domestic collection areas.
There are serious penalties for failing to follow firewood collection rules, including maximum penalties of more than $8,000 in fines and/or imprisonment where it involves taking of more than two cubic metres of fallen or felled trees.
Quotes attributable to Conservation Regulator Operations Manager Glenn Sharp:
“Anyone breaking firewood collection rules should be aware that the chances of getting caught are high, given our officers patrol state forests and use surveillance cameras and other methods to detect offences.”
“Firewood collection rules ensure everyone has fair access to firewood supply, while protecting the environment which provides important habitat for many of our threatened native species.”
Quotes attributable to Parks Victoria Senior Manager Enforcement and Regulatory Services Ron Waters:
“Our park rangers are out in parks seven days a week patrolling and protecting the environment that provides important habitat for many of our threatened native species.”
“By targeting illegal firewood collection, we’re protecting the health of our forests, and in turn, protecting precious habitat for our wildlife.”
Page last updated: 24/11/20