Goats being recruited to help prevent wildfires

LOS BANOS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Goats are being recruited from the Central Valley to mow down dry brush and prevent wild fires.

Standing shoulder to shoulder, about 4 feet each, -- the firefighting goats of Los Banos are ready for duty.

"Not at all what you would think, but they are a huge help in fighting fires," said Bianca Soares, Merced County.

The Los Banos herd is off duty, but ready to be dispatched anywhere in the state to chew through dry brush.

Andree Soares is essentially the fire chief here, but really she's a business owner-- the president of Star Creek Land Stewards.

"A lot of agencies employ us for fire prevention, as well as vegetation management."

Most of the work is happening in the bay area.

She has five herds in four counties, with each herd capable of mowing down one to two acres a day depending on the terrain.

This is her third year in the business, and she said it's grown 75 percent since she started.

Her daughter, Bianca, said it beats using chemicals and mowers.

"Mowing is a lot of manpower and you're burning fuel, this is a much closer better way to treat the land."

She said it's natural, and the trampling of the hooves will help the soil retain water when it rains.

"It is really a win, win. While you're meeting the needs of vegetation management and reducing risk of fire, we're also improving the land," said Andree.

On this piece of land where the goats are based. The herd will eat its way across the hills and build a wall of defense to keep people safe.
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