Thursday, July 25, 2024

Heavy fines threatened for illegal firewood collection

With the cost-of-living crisis hitting hard this winter, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has issued an ice cold reminder to Bega Valley Shire residents that it is illegal to collect firewood in national parks and flora reserves – with hefty fines threatened for those who break the rules.

“We understand that the weather is cooling, and people are trying to keep themselves warm, however this cannot be done through the illegal collection of firewood in lands managed by NPWS,” said Eurobodalla Area Manager, Jo Issaverdis.

“Trees and fallen branches in this area provide essential habitat for important native animals including the barking owl, masked owl, powerful owl, koalas, glossy black cockatoo, the southern brown bandicoot, and many more.

“NPWS is committed to conserving native animals in National Parks, and we will not hesitate to take action against those found to be destroying areas which play a role in protecting wildlife.”

The Service says new evidence indicates members of the public have been cutting firewood in Mimosa Rocks National Park and Biamanga National Park, as well as surrounding nature reserves including Murrah Flora Reserve.

“NPWS has increased the number of local staff patrolling firewood collecting hotspots as well as installing several surveillance cameras to detect illegal activities,” said Ms Issaverdis.

Fines apply to those found illegally collecting firewood, and larger fines can be handed out by the courts, she warned.

Last year, NPWS staff uncovered evidence of felled trees in Biamanga National Park and soon after issued a man with a $600 fine.

Firewood can be collected with a permit in some state forests or purchased from a reputable supplier.

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