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Firefighters credit goat grazing for quick containment of brush fire

salinas riverbed fire.jpg
Posted at 4:46 PM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 19:46:14-04

It might sound strange, but goats are being credited with helping stop the spread of a wildfire in California.

A fire burned a little more than an acre in the Salinas Riverbed south of the Niblick Bridge in Paso Robles in the northern part of California on Tuesday afternoon.

Fire officials say crews could quickly contain the fire because of goat and sheep grazing that was recently completed in the area. The animals are used as a fuel abatement technique, eating up potentially hazardous grass and brush.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but fire officials say it started next to an encampment where people are experiencing homelessness.

In June, National Geographic highlighted how authorities in California and Arizona have embraced using goats to clear land of vegetation and have had success using the technique, which has been around for quite a while. The technique has been used in places like Greece and Australia, which use herbivores to clear dry brush and prevent fires.

Goat herds are being contracted out to clients in need of animals that can eat unwanted vegetation and plants which can be fuel for wildfires.

Alissa Cope, the owner of California's Sage Environmental Group said, “When we got started it was for habitat restoration, and I just got tired of dumping gallons of herbicide on everything," she told National Geographic.

She explained that once a goat eats vegetation, the seeds can't continue to be spread, which is an added benefit.

“When goats eat the seed, it goes through their digestive tract, and it becomes nonviable. It doesn't grow after it comes out the other end, which is really amazing,” she said.

This story was originally published by KSBY in California's Central Coast.