Victorians will be banned from collecting firewood from public land this year. Source: The Weekly Times
Community leaders fear elderly people using wood for heating and cooking are most vulnerable to the bans across northern Victoria.
For the first time since European settlement, public reserves and parks from Mildura to Shepparton will be closed to firewood gathering from this winter, with all public land wood collecting to end in northern Victoria within five years.
The state firewood industry expects bans will apply across Victoria within a decade.
“We will have old people shivering to death if we’re not careful,” Moira Shire mayor and Murray Group of Councils chair, Gary Cleveland, said.
“Wood has always been available as a cheap energy source and in some of our towns we believe more than half the households use wood,” he said.
Campers who traditionally collect free wood opportunistically for their holiday fires may need to buy wood commercially before they enter parks.