Firewood policy

Collecting firewood inside parks can degrade habitat and biodiversity, while bringing firewood into a park can introduce pests and diseases.

Cunninghams skink (Egernia cunninghami), protected species within national parks and nature reservesCamp fires provide light, warmth and heat for cooking. However, the increasing removal of standing dead timber and woody debris can contribute to the decline of native forests. Dead hollow-bearing trees and woody debris provide habitats for many native animals including Cunningham’s skink (Egernia cunninghami) and the endangered turquoise parrot (Neophema pulchella).

In some parks the removal of woody debris may be a fire management practice, helping to reduce fire risk.


  1. Collecting firewood from within a park to use outside of a park is prohibited.
  2. Collecting timber for firewood is allowed in backcountry (more remote) areas, in any park category, except where it is:
    • prohibited by a park plan of management
    • prohibited by a sign or notice
    • for commercial gain
    • for use outside the park boundary.

3–8. Exemptions

  1. Upon the reservation of new lands, where collection was being undertaken at the time of reservation and is not for commercial gain, a limited phasing-out period may apply (upon request).
  2. Firewood collection for domestic use may be permitted in some parks and reserves in the Riverina region of NSW. Further information is available on the domestic firewood collection page.
  3. In parks other than nature reserves, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) may allow firewood collection:
    • where there are management activities or developments that
      • have already been assessed for environmental impacts (including consideration of key threatening processes
      • have required the removal of vegetation.

    Such activities include infrastructure maintenance, construction, the removal of hazardous trees, weed control and rehabilitation.

    • in areas within strategic fire advantage zones or asset protection zones identified under fire management strategies (this may include zones around cultural heritage assets)
    • in designated low-use areas where NPWS has determined that firewood collection does not have a significant ecological impact
    • in areas identified under a plan of management as suitable for ecologically sustainable firewood collection. Such areas may include plantations in parks that existed prior to the park’s establishment
    • in areas other than those listed above. However, this is permitted only following:
  4. In designated camping areas, NPWS may provide firewood for use in parks, and/or provide alternative fuel and cooking facilities.
  5. Where firewood is provided, NPWS may obtain it either:
    • in accordance with paragraph 3 of this policy
    • from off-park sources; where this is the case, the wood should if possible be from sustainably managed sources with low environmental impact (for instance, untreated offcuts).

    Cost-recovery pricing is to be used where practicable. Under appropriate licensing arrangements, contractors may sell firewood to park visitors.

  6. Where fires are allowed and there is no provision on park of firewood or alternative fuel and cooking facilities, park visitors should be encouraged to bring non-pathogen/pest-bearing fuels (such as gas) for use on park.
  1. Visitors should be advised of the control of collection of timber for firewood as outlined in this policy through display of public notices under clause 6(1)(i) of the National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2019 (NPW Regulation). Such notices should emphasise the ecological damage caused by firewood collection, and give information (if required) about managing fires for cooking and optimising fuel use.

Policy adopted June 1989
Policy last updated September 2020

Scope and application

This policy applies to all lands acquired or reserved under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act) except for lands reserved under Part 4A of the Act (unless the Board of Management for those lands has adopted the policy). However, NPWS staff can use the policy as guidance in their dealings with Boards of Management.


In New South Wales around 120 species of animals and birds use hollows in trees for nesting or shelter, with many invertebrate species dependent on fallen woody debris for survival. These insects, snails and worms, as well as fungi and bacteria, play an important role in the decomposition of wood and nutrient cycling in forest and woodland ecosystems. As the removal of woody debris, dead wood and dead trees has a significant negative impact on habitat availability and ecosystem functioning, it was listed as a Key Threatening Process under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 in 2003 (and remains listed in Schedule 4 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016).

However, in some cases removal of wood is necessary to achieve park management objectives, such as reducing fuel load (and hence fire risk).

Bringing wood into a park for camp fires or barbecues needs to be strictly controlled, as it can introduce new pests and pathogens into a park.


Backcountry means an area characterised by essentially unmodified natural environment, where interaction between users is low, and evidence of other users is minimal.

Park means a reserve gazetted under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act), including a national park, nature reserve, historic site, Aboriginal area, state conservation area, karst conservation reserve, regional park or any land acquired by the Minister under Part 11 of the Act.


This section outlines NPWS staff with significant responsibilities for ensuring implementation of the policy.

 Paragraph  Position accountable
5. Identifying low-use areas where firewood collection is assessed as not having significant ecological impact Branch Director