Best thing to come out of Berkeley – Firefighting goats!

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As we reported last week many of the fires scourging California at the moment have been caused because brush is being left to rot and is not being cleared away or safely burned. Savvy farmers and land owners are waking up to the fact that goats consume a massive amount of biomass – and aren’t very fussy about what they chow down on.

“More and more, people are looking at goats as a tool for fire suppression,” said Craig Madsen of Healing Hooves, a company based in Edwall, Washington that maintains a herd of about 250 goats that are used for natural vegetation management, in this interview.

“Goats mimic a cool, late-season understory burn,” he went on. “They eat all the leaves from shrubs and seedlings, reducing the amount of regeneration so it’s not so dense in the future.”

As we have reported before, goats are often used to clear weeds. They are very efficient as you don’t have to haul the trimmings – and you just let their poop fertilize the soil. Here, they make the difference between a clean line between old and new foliage and a bonfire looking for a light.

In this video from the Berkeley Lab, these goats are keeping their grounds cleared. And causing a traffic jam!