A STATEWIDE operation targeting the illegal commercial sale of firewood has been launched by Victoria’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
The vast amounts of wood available on public land in the North East make it one of the main areas under scrutiny.
Firewood has been set aside for the public under conditions and guidelines, but the department last year became aware it was being sold.
The department’s senior forests investigator Greg Chant said Operation Trident had last year identified a large number of people involved and many were prosecuted.
Mr Chant said they were convicted and fined between $1500 and $5000, with items including chainsaws and trailers seized and forfeited.
This year the department is running Operation Chainsaw, which aims to obtain information from the community about the illegal sale of firewood.
Anyone found contravening the law will be prosecuted.
“We have suspected for numerous years that firewood is being illegally removed from public land and sold,” Mr Chant said.
“Last year’s operation reinforced that viewpoint.
“This activity is making a profit from taking firewood that should be available free of charge to the community during the domestic firewood season.
“This year’s operation will build on experience gained from last year and we will direct our resources efficiently to deter, disrupt and dismantle these illegal activities.”
He said he was seeking assistance from the public relating to the buying or selling of firewood taken from public land.
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