July 14, 2021 | Mukundarajan | Medium.com
Goats munch on flammable vegetation and create buffer zones
In 2019, goats saved the Ronald Regan Presidential Library in California from being burned down in the season’s wildfire. A few months before, goats had devoured the flammable undergrowth around the library. The safe zone created by the goats stopped the fire in its track.
Goats are the latest weapon in the firefighting armory of California that sees devastating wildfires every summer. The 2020 season was among the worst with about 10,000 wildfires destroying over 4 million acres.
The outlook for 2021 is grim, especially for California’s South Bay and Santa Cruz Mountains. According to San Jose State University Fire Weather Research Laboratory, these regions are vulnerable because of record low levels of moisture in vegetation.
The four-legged firefighters do their job efficiently
TomKat Ranch, in Pescadero, California, is spread across 1800 acres of grassland. It recently hired a brigade of 850 goats from the Goatapelli Foundation and deployed them on its property.
How do the goats help fight wildfires?
- They gobble up combustible vegetation. They eliminate a potential source of wildfire fuel.
- They create safe zones or barriers to prevent a wildfire from spreading.
- Firefighters can use these buffer zones to move their equipment.
- Goats grazing on hilly terrain push the recycled vegetation on the slopes and help prevent soil erosion and water run-off.
- They clear toxic weed and leave the soil in healthier conditions.
- They lighten the workload of human personnel who have to work in hostile weather and often suffer physical injuries.
Nature has its own self-balancing and self-correcting mechanisms. Human interventions in the environment have disrupted these self-healing systems.
Goats are ravenous animals. Let loose a herd of goats on a wild overgrown pasture and they will strip it bare in a few minutes. Goats’ voracious appetite is one of Nature’s self-regulating tools.
Goats provide an eco-friendly solution to control the spread of wildfires. In 2018, Portugal deployed goats to clear the undergrowth in hilly areas and minimizing the damage caused by wildfires.
Jeffrey Ragusa, Glendale’s fire marshall has said:
We started hearing a lot about goats, both from community members, other fire departments, other cities. And the more we looked into it, the more we realized how effective they can be, how environmentally friendly they can be. So far, it’s been a really good program. We’ve been really happy with the results.
Goats are our allies in fighting wildfires. They provide a low-tech, eco-friendly, and easily accessible solution to prevent wildfires from spreading to human settlements.
The humble and unsung ungulates save money and lives.
Thanks are reading.