California deploys fire-fighting sheep and goats

Published April 15, 2022, 5:00 PM

by Manila Bulletin Agriculture

The city of Sacramento, California redeployed sheep and goats for fire-fighting duty.

Photo by Pavel Bondarenko from Pexels

Though these animals will not be rescuing people from collapsing buildings, their job is equally important. As part of Sacramento’s firefighting crew, these animals will be grazing on dry fields to mitigate the possible spread of wildfire.

Dry conditions allow fires to spark in fields and forests. Once ignited, dry grasses and trees act as a sprawling source of tinder, which contributes to the spread of fire.

This is the second time Sacramento has used sheep and goats for this task. It is not yet summer in California, which is when wildfires are most frequent, but the state is currently experiencing drought. 

The use of grazing animals to prevent the spread of wildfire is not new, but more cities have been adopting this method to replace the need for machinery. Companies have even started taking advantage of the new opportunity.

Good Shepherds, a San Diego-based company, has 125 animals in their squad that they can send to different sites for land grazing. Their animals are able to clear a quarter of an acre each day. 

Co-founder Matthew Sablove believes that wild animals used to graze on fields to naturally control the spread of wildfire. Human activities, however, have forced wild animals to leave their habitat, allowing dry fields to grow uncontrolled.

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