US City: We Need More Goats to Save Lives

Nevada City has launched a ‘Goat fund me’ campaign to raise money for an anti-wildfire grazing project.

09.05.2019 | by Christy Romer
Photo on Visual Hunt
Photo on Visual Hunt

Catastrophic wildfires have torn through California in recent years, destroying homes, roads, cars, businesses – anything and everything in their path. 2018’s ‘Camp Fire’ became the costliest natural disaster that year, raging for seventeen days over a 150,000 acre area and killing at least 85 people.

Nevada City, close to Paradise, a town entirely destroyed in the Camp Fire flames, has launched an innovative community initiative to prevent the wildfire problem before it’s too late.

In partnership with local ranchers, it has launched what it dubs a ‘Goat Fund Me’ page. City officials are asking the local population to contribute a total of $30,000 towards a ‘prescriptive grazing’ programme, which would see large herds of goat and sheep directed to eat any low- to medium-lying shrubbery in areas vulnerable to fire.

The money would be used to hire the goats, herdsmen and necessary equipment, alongside a communication campaign to advise the 3,000+ residents when the herd would be approaching.

“Prescriptive grazing can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per acre depending on the difficulty of the terrain and how much there is to graze,” the appeal reads. “Approximately 200 goats can knock down an acre per day. Nevada City has over 450 acres of greenbelt and it is of utmost importance we keep the fire risk to a minimum.”

In addition, the city will be working with community volunteers and current and ex-offenders through a jail release programme to clear fire hazards from easy-to-reach properties. It will also host events to teach residents how to reduce the risk on their properties with public demonstrations.

“There is no better insurance policy than to reduce the risk at hand,” the appeal continues. “Let’s be proactive and ensure that we are safe and thriving in a healthy, fire-free community!”.

Could goats be the solution to a problem expected to intensify as the climate crisis continues? At the time of writing, a total of $26,000 has been pledged to the project, suggesting the residents of Nevada City at least seem to be willing to take a punt on the idea.

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Tags: nature, wildfire

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