Benalla Ensign

Plan winter firewood needs now

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Benalla’s firewood collectors are being urged to start planning their winter firewood needs as part of the opening of the spring collection season.

From September 1 designated firewood collection areas opened across Victoria, allowing communitie­s to gather wood for personal use.

All firewood collection activities must comply with public health measures, prioritisi­ng the safety of the Victorian community.

Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) Hume deputy chief fire officer Aaron Kennedy said they were anticipati­ng an increased demand for firewood during the spring and autumn collection seasons because of a range of impacts, including last summer’s bushfires.

‘‘We are urging people who rely on firewood for heating and cooking to consider all options, including purchasing firewood from local merchants selling legally obtained wood,’’ Mr Kennedy said.

‘‘In fire-affected communitie­s, we are continuing to look for opportunit­ies to provide alternativ­e collection areas and restrict access to residents of certain post codes or local government areas.

‘‘We want to remind the community that firewood can only be taken from designated collection areas in state forests or parks during approved collection seasons.

‘‘Designated collection areas are selected for a range of reasons including the availabili­ty of firewood, community safety, and to protect sites of cultural and environmen­tal significan­ce.’’

Firewood collection from roadsides is managed by local government agencies and usually requires a permit. Residents are encouraged to contact Benalla Rural City directly for further details.

For more informatio­n on firewood collection or to report illegal or suspicious behaviour in public land areas, phone the Department of Environmen­t, Land, Water and Planning on 136 186.

The spring season closes on November 30. More informatio­n, including interactiv­e online maps, will be available once the season opens at www.ffm.vic.gov.au/firewood

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