THE spring season of firewood collection began today, Tuesday, September 1, in state forests across Victoria.
But police want to remind the public that collection on roadsides is illegal on VicRoads managed roads, and only allowable on municipal roads with a permit.
San Remo Police Sergeant Scott Morison said during the off season, the station had received a lot of calls about the illegal collection of wood from roadsides.
In a joint operation between Parks Victoria and Conservation Regulator, 60 people have been caught illegally collecting firewood and felling trees on public land since March.
Operation Hollows saw forest and wildlife officers patrolling forests, parks and reserves across the state and have reported a major increase in illegal firewood activity.
Both South Gippsland and Bass Coast Shires confirmed they have issued no permits for roadside wood collection this year.
Anyone caught illegally removing firewood can face a fine of up to $8261, and vehicles and equipment may also be seized.
Commercial firewood suppliers need to have the appropriate licences and permits to collect and sell firewood in Victoria.
Domestic firewood collection is only allowed in designated areas during the firewood collection season. For further information on firewood collection rules, visit ffm.vic.gov.au.
To report suspected illegal collection or selling of firewood, call the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP) on 136 186.