As the weather cools, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is reminding residents across the Central West that it is illegal to collect firewood in national parks, state conservation areas and nature reserves.
NPWS Central West Area Manager Fiona Buchanan said it is important that residents around Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo, Condobolin, Forbes and Grenfell are aware of the heavy fines that apply.
“We are getting the message out there that collecting firewood, including dead wood and fallen trees, is not permitted in national parks,” Ms Buchanan said.
“Dead hollow-bearing trees and woody debris provide habitat for many endangered native animals in the Central West. Illegally cutting down dead trees and removing this fallen timber for firewood destroys critical habitat that these animals depend on for survival.
“We want residents in the Central West to understand that fallen timber in our national parks is not a low-cost option for heating during the winter.
“NPWS uses surveillance cameras in parks to detect illegal activities, including firewood collection. On-the-spot-fines apply, and very large fines can be handed out by the courts.
“Last year, three individuals in Forbes received $7,100 in fines and court costs for illegal firewood collecting,” she said.
Firewood collection is permitted in some Forestry Corporation state forests, however those wishing to collect firewood must obtain a permit before doing so and ensure that they follow the associated permit conditions. Firewood permits are available online at Forestry Corporation of NSW.