Why California Cities Are Turning to Goats to Help Thwart the Next Big Wildfire

Something to chew on.

Fire season in California may be over, but preparations are already underway for later in 2020. Many cities are relying on goats … yes goats … to clean up hills and reduce natural fire fuels that could be problematic once hotter, dryer conditions hit the state. NPR reported on such an effort in Anaheim, where company Environmental Land Management keeps goats grazing on city hillsides nearly year-round.

“The goats are stationed in places like Deer Canyon Park, a nature preserve with more than a hundred acres of steep hills. Beginning in July, roughly 400 goats worked through the park, eating invasive grasses and dried brush.

“The company’s operations manager Johnny Gonzales says that Deer Canyon, with its peaks and valleys, is just the right kind of place to use goats for fire prevention.

“’This is the topography that poses challenges during these wildfire events,’ Gonzales says. ‘And we can go ahead and reduce the fuel loads and take out the invasive plants, and establish the native plants on these banks; you’re re-establishing the ecology.’

“Gonzales says that demand for wildfire prevention goats has soared in recent years.

“’It’s not an underestimation to say that we got over 100 calls a month from private individuals with smaller parcels, little lots or things from an acre, two acres requesting the goats,’ Gonzales says. ‘And unfortunately, as a commercial herd, I can’t take on all these private lots.’”

Chew on that and more here.

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