As The Hepburn and Moorabool Shires both continue cleanup after last week's extreme weather, residents are wondering what will be done with the piles of firewood lining the sides of the road from fallen trees.
It is currently illegal for residents to collect firewood outside of designated roadside zones.
"Under normal circumstances Council's Local Law does not allow the collection of firewood from roadside without a permit. Council has yet to determine how the vegetation from the storm damage will be managed," Hepburn Shire Council CEO Bradley Thomas said.
"We are aware that there are opportunities to provide firewood or material for artists/wood turners, or for other uses, but we need to ensure there is a safe process to facilitate this."
There are currently 15 spots in the Ballarat surrounds where people can legally collect firewood during the season. Seven of these are for roadside collections.
However none of those figured on the DWELP website are in the belt of central highland land most severely hit by last week storms reaching from Barkstead, through Korweinguboora to Blackwood and Trentham.
DWELP re-emphasised that for safety reasons roadside firewood collection was not permitted.
What are the current rules for collecting firewood?
- One person can collect up to 2 cubic metres per day
- One household cannot collect more than 16 cubic metres per financial year
- You can only collect wood that is already on the ground, breaking off or cutting branches is not allowed
- You cannot collect trees that are hollow or more than half covered in moss or funghi, as they could be a habitat for wildlife
- Wood within 20 metres of any rivers, creeks, lakes or dams cannot be collected
- Firewood can only be collected for domestic purposes, it is illegal to sell it or use it for a business
- Roadside collection is only allowed in designated firewood collection areas
- You can only collect firewood during 1 March to 30 June (Autumn season) and 1 September to 30 November (Spring season
Leader of the Nationals, Peter Walsh has called for the government to temporarily change the current firewood collection laws and allow local residents to lead the cleanup.
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