27 Apr 2020 - Rod Campbell
Firewood collection is now open in selected Central Tablelands State forests, meaning residents can arrange a permit to stock up on firewood ahead of winter.
With the opening, Forestry Corporation is reminding people that State forests are a great source for firewood as long as you stick to the rules.
Forest visitors should also be aware of the impact of COVID-19 public health directions and act accordingly, including maintaining social distancing and appropriate separation from other forest users, not undertaking any unnecessary travel and being outside with only their immediate household or one other person.
Firewood permits are not available for Newnes State Forests this year due to hazardous conditions following the Gospers Mountain fire, said Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Stewardship Coordinator, Melanie Klootwijk.
“Even though Newnes State Forest is reopened for general public access, the risk while collecting firewood there is too great,” Ms Klootwijk said.
“While we’ve put a lot of work into making Newnes Forest’s main roads safe, venturing off road to park a ute or trailer to spend time cutting firewood is unsafe.
“Burnt areas still carry the risk of dangerous trees and other hazards, and visitors need to keep vehicles to the main formed roads.
“Burnt trees can fall without warning as structural fire damage is often difficult to see. The current windy season can see trees easily blown over or snapped off halfway up the trunk, which we’ve seen recently.
Additional State forests have been opened for firewood this year. These are Falnash and Lidsdale State forests which have previously been unavailable to firewood collection.
“We understand that many local residents rely on State forests for their firewood, so we have made these two additional State forest areas available as an alternative to Newnes,” Ms Klootwijk said.
“The Newnes closure will only be in place for 2020; by next year there will have been sufficient time for damaged trees and limbs to fall, reducing the risk and creating a plentiful source of firewood.
“Please remember that you can only collect fallen timber – State forest permits do not allow you to cut down any standing trees, even if they are dead.”
“We will be monitoring the situation at Newnes and will issue fines to those collecting illegally. We are using camera surveillance to assist with this management.”
“For your own safety, and to avoid a hefty fine (up to $2200), please stick to the rules, make sure you pay attention to any warning notices and don’t enter closed areas.”
Permit holders are encouraged to wear appropriate clothing and personal protective equipment, including sturdy footwear and gloves. When using chainsaws, Forestry Corporation strongly recommends wearing chainsaw chaps, cut resistant trousers and eye/face protection.
To arrange a permit or find out more about firewood collection in NSW State forests, please visit www.forestrycorporation.com.au.
Media contact: Rod Campbell 0428 058 549