Cities across California are trying unusual approaches to prevent a repeat of last year’s wildfires that ravaged the state and turned the skies orange. One such approach is hiring hooves to munch through all the dry bushes and invasive grasses across the steep hillsides—some of the most challenging topography to tackle during fires.
Anaheim has had around 400 goats trotting through Deer Canyon Park since the beginning of July 2020 and the contract with the Environmental Land Management has since been renewed to keep them grazing almost throughout the year, according to a report by NPR. With Northern California already experiencing the first fires of the year, more cities are attempting to mitigate another potentially devastating fire season ahead by following suit.
Paso Robles has set over 100 hungry farm animals loose to graze along the fire-prone Salinas Riverbed for the next few months. The $45,000 goat project was approved by Regional Water Board and Fish and Wildlife, allowing dozens of areas to be cleared.
In 2021, on a warm July morning, a herd of 80 goats were sent out to chomp away on a hilly patch of land in Glendale.
So why goats? Well, according to fire and emergency officials in Palos Robles, they are the most efficient animals for the job and have a lower environmental impact compared to other preventative measures. Goats also eat right down to the roots and have no problem plowing through tough. dry vegetation. Of course, they’re notoriously nimble, allowing them to get into spaces that other livestock wouldn’t be able to.
Similar projects are underway in Simi Valley, with hundreds of goats creating fire breaks around the Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.
According to various reports, locals have also commented on the playful energy that they bring to communities.
Featured Image: Marc Schulte on Unsplash