Strict Fines for Illegal Firewood Gathering in Bega Valley

As the colder months approach, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is reminding those around the Bega Valley Shire that it is illegal to collect firewood in national parks and flora reserves.

Farmland near Bega, NSW

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.

Dead hollow-bearing trees and woody debris provide shelter for many endangered native animals and cutting down these trees and removing fallen timber destroys critical habitat that these animals depend on for their survival.

NPWS has increased the number of local staff patrolling firewood collecting hotspots as well as installing several surveillance cameras to detect illegal activities.

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

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.

Members of the public can report suspicious incidents to the NSW Environment Protection Authority's Environment Line on 1300 361 967.

Quotes attributable to Eurobodalla Area Manager Jo Issaverdis:

'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.

'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.'

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