Handy tips for collecting firewood

Handy tips for collecting firewood

Keep the home fires burn­ing, but make sure you col­lect your fire­wood the right way. Here’s how, and why it matters.

As the nights get cold­er, noth­ing is as com­fort­ing as set­tling down in front of a crack­ling fire.

The only prob­lem is that buy­ing wood from the hard­ware shop or get­ting a deliv­ery from the local wood yard can be expensive.

No-one will mind if you just col­lect a bit for free in a nation­al park, right?


It’s ille­gal to take wood from nation­al parks and reserves, even if the wood is dead or fallen.

If you are caught, you face fines of up to $10,000 or impris­on­ment for 2 years. You can also have your equip­ment seized. In the past, rangers have con­fis­cat­ed chain­saws and oth­er gear from peo­ple caught ille­gal­ly tak­ing wood in parks.

The same goes for all pub­lic land, includ­ing reser­voir and for­est reserves.

Why are dead trees and fall­en wood so important?

Dead trees and fall­en branch­es pro­vide vital habi­tat for a range of native species, includ­ing birds, pos­sums, rep­tiles, insects and even oth­er plants and fungi.

Tree holes and hol­lows in par­tic­u­lar are extreme­ly impor­tant, but they can take many years to form.

Once they do, they pro­vide nest­ing and sleep­ing places for brush-tailed pos­sums, goan­nas, and birds such as yel­low-tailed black cock­a­toos, kook­abur­ras and rosellas.

Some native bird species can­not breed with­out the right sort of holes or hol­lows to nest in, so the reduc­tion in the num­ber of old trees in the land­scape has had a seri­ous impact on their numbers.

Fall­en wood can also pro­vide hid­ing places and food sources for small ani­mals such as echid­nas, bats, dun­narts, pygmy pos­sums, geck­oes and oth­er lizards.

Where can I col­lect firewood?

There are a few ways to col­lect fire­wood legally:

  • By agree­ment on pri­vate land. Know some­one with a rur­al prop­er­ty with lots of trees? If you ask nice­ly, they might let you help your­self to some dead wood.
  • On some road verges, if you have a per­mit from the coun­cil. Check with the coun­cil to find out their pol­i­cy on fire­wood collection.
  • In some ForestrySA plan­ta­tion forests, but only by agree­ment with the ranger.

Still unsure? Con­tact your local coun­cil regard­ing the removal of trees on pri­vate prop­er­ty or your local nat­ur­al resources cen­tre for fur­ther information.

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in May 2016.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living