If you’re in the process or are about to course wood for your fireplace, you should first become familiar with some of the info in the Forests Act 1958 and the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978, which set down the rules and regulations for the collection of firewood for residential use.
Residents of Victoria are no longer obligated to have permits in order to collect firewood from designated areas in state forests and parks, however if you do intend on collecting firewood, certain rules do apply. Use this handy reference guide to collecting firewood this winter:
- Designated collection areas
Firewood can only be collected from designated areas and during firewood season Autumn (1 March to 30 June) and Spring (1 September to 30 November). Designated areas are clearly identifiable by markings provided on the ground.
- Safety precautions
It is important to implement safety precautions when collecting firewood such as wearing appropriate clothing and using wood-collecting equipment appropriately. Ideally, you should be trained in how to use them properly. Chainsaws that have appropriate exhaust and spark arresters fitted can be used. You should also be aware of hazards like dead standing trees, uneven ground conditions and snakes and stinging insects.
- Limited quantity of firewood applies
The maximum limit of firewood allowed is 2m3 per person daily and 16m3 per household for a financial year.
- Green wood collected in state forests
You should be aware that wood collected from state forests is wet wood, which means that it would have to be dried or seasoned for at least 12 months before it can be used as a safe fuel source.
- Collect only felled trees
The Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning in Victoria makes provision for only felled or fallen trees to be collected.
- Vehicle rules applicable
Vehicles up to 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM) including the trailer can be used in the specified firewood collection areas. No heavy machinery such as bulldozers, cranes or tractors are allowed. Vehicles should stay on formed roads and not veer off tracks.
Lower your home’s heating costs even further by collecting free firewood from state forest designated areas. You need to do this a year in advance as forest wood has to be fully dried out before placing in your wood heater.