Don’t go bush for firewood
Issued: 14 Apr 2022
As Queensland shifts from summer to autumn, people who dust off their potbelly or fire pit are reminded that timber from State forests and national parks cannot be collected and used as firewood.
Senior Ranger Compliance Luke Male said Queensland’s State forests and timber reserves are for sustainable timber production, protection of natural and cultural values and for recreational activities.
“Everything in a State forest is protected by the Forestry Act 1959 which includes timber (dead or alive), plants, native animals and rocks,” Mr Male said.
“Collection of firewood and other timber items in a State forest or timber reserve without a permit, licence or authority is an offence.
“The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service will be conducting compliance patrols during the cooler months, and people found in possession of firewood or other items, or in the process of cutting up timber for firewood will receive a fine.
“Our forest officers can currently issue on the spot fines to the value of $1,378 and people can be prosecuted in court with maximum penalty of $137,850 for a first offence or $413,550 for subsequent offences.
“People unlawfully collecting firewood have a total disregard for the forest and other forest users.
“They are impacting native species through the removal of habitat, introducing weeds and other pests to the environment or damaging waterways.
“Forest officers can seize firewood and timber, conduct vehicle searches as well as seize vehicles and equipment such as chainsaws used in committing the offence.”
Mr Male said in June 2021, a 65 year old man from Toowoomba was caught unlawfully cutting firewood with a chainsaw in the Durikai State Forest, and he had collected an estimated two tonnes of firewood.
“He was fined $1334 for unlawfully interfering with forest products in a State forest, $533 for using a restricted item (chainsaw) in a State forest,” he said.
“Forest Officers regularly intercept vehicles in our State forests and timber reserves and provide advice to people about protecting natural and cultural values.
“Forest officers also conduct remote surveillance, deploying covert cameras to gather evidence and receive information about unlawful activity from the public.
“The Department of Environment and Science works closely with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to regulate activities in our State forests and timber reserves.
“To lawfully remove timber and other forest products from State forest and timber reserves, people must have a valid sales permit and the appropriate environmental and safety accreditation, or use employees or contractors who have this accreditation.
“When purchasing firewood, people are encouraged to ensure it is from a lawful source.
“The department has a zero-tolerance approach to the unlawful collection of firewood and other items in our State forests and timber reserves, and people caught breaking the law can expect a fine or prosecution.”
People can play their part by reporting suspected illegal behaviour by phoning 1300 130 372 or by emailing ParkEnquiries@des.qld.gov.au.