California Dispatches Goats to Eat Brush, Prevent Wildfires


California firefighters are enlisting help from some unusual allies to prevent more deadly wildfires from ripping across the state -- goats.


The Ventura County Fire Department is releasing hundreds of goats next week north of Los Angeles to eat dead brush that could become fuel for a fires.


“They’ll eat until we like the way the landscape looks, and then we move them to another area,” Captain Ken VanWig, who oversees the department’s vegetation management program, said in an interview. “They’re very effective.”


The concept’s not unique to Ventura County, which has been using goats to trim vegetation for about five years.

Departments across the state are doing the same as firefighters work to prevent deadly fires like the one that destroyed the town of Paradise in Northern California last November, killing 85 people, said Scott McLean, a spokesman for California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.


“It’s another tool in the tool box,” he said.

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