Goats & Wildfire Prevention

Goats & Wildfire Prevention

Clearing brush for fire prevention can be hard and dangerous work for firefighters so Wenatchee, Wash. is trying a different tactic…goats. Tri-Cities Correspondent Courtney Flatt found how how effective these goats really are.

Full Transcript

– There’s a little over 300 goats out here and we’re doing a fire mitigation project. And so we’re just clearing a lot of brush and some dead vegetation. If you give them the opportunity they’ll eat as much as they can.

– [Courtney] In 2015 flames pushed up a hillside and into a neighborhood in Wenatchee. The sleepy hollow fire burned 30 homes and three industrial building in Wenatchee. Now fire fighters are trying to prevent that from happening again. They’re asking for help from some unusual reinforcements. A local fire fighter district is using more than 300 goats to chomp down on weeds that can fuel wildfires. It’s easier to send in goats than firefighters and their equipment. This slope’s so steep it would be really difficult to work on. The goats make easy work of it.

– [Courtney] The firefighters joke they’re much happier just supplying the goats with water. And the goats are happy eating.

– Yeah, they love it. They love rocky, steep terrain and they’re very agile an athletic animals so they love to prance and hop off big rocks.

– [Courtney] It’s the first time Billy Porter’s goats have been used to tamp down wildfire threats. If all goes well the fire district may bring the goats back at different times of the year.

– I had no idea how aggressively they would chow down on the vegetation. I jokingly asked the shepard if he didn’t feed them for a week before he let them loose because they are attacking this like a lawnmower.

– [Courtney] Eventually with the help of the goats Brett hopes to create a fire break around the western edge of Wenatchee. That way it will be much easier to fight the next fire that threatens these homes.

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