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An unlikely ally in the fight against California wildfires

On a hot July morning, a herd of 80 goats was deployed in the Glendale hills on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

If they choose to accept it, their mission is simple: grazing.

Goats are an unlikely but increasingly popular weapon in California’s battle against wildfires, which rage every year in the western states of the United States.

For the past decade or so, they have helped wipe out dry vegetation that can burn and threaten surrounding homes.

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Due to climate change and cruel drought, authorities fear that months of massive hell are now commonplace.

“We’ve started hearing a lot about goats from community members, other fire departments, and other cities,” said Jeffrey Laguza, Marshal of Firefighting Glendale.

-Corridor-

Eating flammable plants helps limit the spread of fire and also creates a convenient corridor that firefighters can operate to “protect the house in a safer environment” if needed. , Said Laguza.

But their help is worthwhile, creating a buffer zone by removing vegetation (often manually, in hot and difficult terrain) before and during the longer fire season than ever before. Reduces the workload of overgrown human contractors.

“I haven’t seen a goat’s journey yet,” he added with a smile.

Its founder, Alyssa Corp, began incorporating goats into her work five years ago and now owns about 400 animals.

This strategy carries inherent risks. If the goat is left to his device, he will munching on whatever is in the path.

Without revealing how much goats earn for their labor, Corp says the cost of hiring animals is comparable to what authorities pay to human workers-at lower environmental rates.

The idea of ​​bringing a goat to Glendale originated from Rick Stern, a member of the Neighborhood Homeowners Association.

A few months before the devastating flames, a goat trip was dispatched to create a firebreak around the famous complex.

“So far, it was a really good program,” Ragusa said. “We are really happy with the result.”

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An unlikely ally in the fight against California wildfires

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