Firewood collection permitted in State Forests

WITH the cool of winter lingering many north coast residents are still stocking up on firewood and State Forests are a great source for firewood - so long as you have a permit and stick to the rules.

Forestry Corporation of NSW's District manager, Peter Walters, reminded people to arrange a permit online before collecting firewood from any State forest and to only collect fallen timber.

"There are some areas available in the State forests on the north coast for people to collect fallen timber to use as firewood over the winter period," Mr Walters said.

"You must have a permit to collect firewood from State forests, which you can arrange online for a small fee.

"If you're collecting firewood from a State forest, please remember that you can only collect fallen timber - the permits do not allow you to cut down any standing trees, even if they are dead.

"Firewood is not always available from all areas due to environmental rules and operational considerations, so if you have collected firewood from a local forest in the past you will not necessarily be able to collect firewood from the same location.

He said the online permit system shows where you can collect firewood this season and when you arrange a permit you'll receive a map indicating the collection area the permit is valid for.

"Forestry Corporation will be undertaking patrols of local forests and conducting surveillance to detect illegal firewood collection. For your own safety, and to avoid a hefty fine, please stick to the rules, make sure you pay attention to any warning signs and notices and don't enter closed areas," Mr Walters said.

"The forest environment is constantly changing so when you are collecting firewood please be aware of hazards, especially overhead hazards. Areas that have been affected by bushfire, even several years earlier, may have many dead trees and can be dangerous.

"Particular care should be taken when collecting firewood around dead trees. Permit holders are encouraged to wear appropriate clothing and personal protective equipment including sturdy footwear and gloves. If you are using a chainsaw in the forest, wearing chainsaw chaps / cut resistant trousers and eye / face protection is highly recommended."

There are significant penalties for removing timber from a State forest without a permit and Forestry Corporation constantly monitors State forests using surveillance cameras and patrols.