TWO Mildura men have been fined, while several more individuals are under investigation, following the illegal removal of firewood from public parks and reserves.

Parks Victoria and Victoria Police are cracking down on the activity, after an increase in the illegal removal of firewood was detected from river bends in the district.

A jump in the number of locals reporting to Parks Victoria and Victoria Police has also occurred.

The two men in question were found removing firewood from parks and reserves near Nangiloc and Merbein Common, along the Murray River. Three infringement notices worth $1890 were issued.

Parks Victoria is working with Victoria Police across weekends and at night to intercept illegal firewood collectors, using surveillance cameras, tip-offs and patrols.

Compliance activity will continue throughout the rest of the year.

Parks Victoria is also encouraging local residents to continue reporting sightings of illegal wood removal by contacting 131 963.

“It’s fantastic to see members of the public reporting illegal firewood collectors on a regular basis,” Parks Victoria Ranger Rob McGlashan said. “Locals are rightly concerned about the environmental damage being caused to their parks and reserves, especially so when the illegally removed wood is being sold for profit.

“There are significant penalties in place for cutting and removing vegetation from any park or reserve, and we encourage the public to report any such activity to Parks Victoria.”

Information about firewood collection in Victoria is available from the Forest Fire Management website at www.ffm.vic.gov.au.