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December 8, 2021

Goats clear vegetation as fire season begins

Officials have another way to combat wildfires — with vegetation-eating goats. (KSBW)

MONTEREY, California (KSBW) — It’s go time for these wildfire-fighting goats.

Thanks to a grant of more than $100,000 given to Monterey County from Cal Fire and the California Department of Forestry, 600 goats are at Jacks Peak Park to help prevent wildfires. They eat up all the vegetation that could spark fires.

“They’re voracious eaters,” said John Akeman, Monterey County Parks Planning Manager, in June.

They’re able to get into all the nooks and crannies that firefighters can’t reach.

“Just constantly eating so they’re removing all that in place of build up so it’s really good it’s a game-changer,” Akeman said.

The goats are fast workers and low maintenance.

CalFire Unit Chief of Monterey-San Benito County, Reno Ditullio said, “You don’t have to provide a lot of supervision to them. They are not mechanical, so they don’t make a lot of noise and they work 24/7 and they do a really good job.”

With many different types of fuels, grasses and brushes and a wild-fire season that was already ahead of schedule in June. The goats are a huge help in the desperate need for fire prevention.

“We would like to continue using them. I think words gotten out and since the word has gotten out, we’re finding a shortage on the goats. But that’s a good thing,” Ditullio said.

The fuel reduction project covers about 40-acres. The goats were at Jacks Peak Park for about two the three weeks in June and everyone is urged not the bug them, just let the goats do their job.

The goats clear flammable dead grass and their aim is to establish a natural fire-break, according to Reuters.

“The popularity of goats has really increased over the years; people now equate goats to doing fire fuel breaks. The interest has sparked, you know cities and the counties in the state to look into the viability of it,” Johnny Gonzales, field operations manager from Environmental Land Management, told Reuters.

Ariana Jaso

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