Leave firewood on the ground this winter

In the middle of a cold Canberra winter, Canberrans are urged to consider the animals who use wood and logs for homes before collecting firewood from our reserves and other public areas.

Many Canberrans do not realise that firewood collection is a matter of life or death for our native wildlife. Fallen timber may look like fodder for your fire, however our woody ground cover provides vital habitat for a wide range of small animals living in the Australian environment.

Photo of a wedge-tailed Eagle chick

Photo: A Wedge-tailed Eagle chick relying on wood for its home. Photo by Jerry Oleson.

For small reptiles or marsupials, timber provides cover to move safely across the landscape; it provides somewhere to escape from predators and inclement weather, and a perch from which to spot prey, a mate or a rival. Moving between shelters is risky for many animals and if the distance is too far, some will starve to death rather than venture from a log.

Unauthorised firewood collection is illegal throughout the ACT, regardless of whether the wood is taken from the tree directly or from the ground.

Photo: Illegally chopped firewood.

Penalties for illegal firewood collection include:

  • up to $7,500 for an individual or $37,500 for a corporation for damaging or taking fallen native timber
  • up to $60,000 for an individual and $300,000 for a corporation for damaging a native tree on unleased land
  • up to $30,000 and/or 2 years imprisonment for an individual or $150,000 for a corporation for damaging a native tree on rural leased land
  • up to $60,000 for an individual and $300,000 for a corporation for damaging a protected tree on urban land.

Instead of taking it from the bush, firewood can be purchased from a number of legal vendors in the ACT.

To report illegal collection of firewood contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or call Access Canberra on 13 22 81.