Goat Grazing to Prevent Wildfires

Hundreds of goats are eating dry grass, weeds and anything that is flammable at the base of the San Bernardino Mountain around the rugged hillside adjacent to Arrowhead Springs Hotel last week.

An official statement issued by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indian states, “It is common practice for public agencies and private land owners to utilize animal herds, particularly goat herds, for weed control. The herd at Arrowhead Springs is highly effective in reducing a variety of fuel types to guard against wildland fires, particularly in difficult terrain, and we are pleased to have them as guests on the property for the next few months.”

Across California, goats are being used to chomp down the vegetation in areas where controlled burns are too risky or terrain too difficult to navigate to help create firebreaks to prevent wildfires from spreading.

Targeted goat grazing is eco-friendly, safer, and a lot less noise compared to other alternatives. Furthermore, grazing avoid the use of chemicals that can leach into the water supply. 

George Gonzales is a herd owner in Southern California who offers his goat services for brush control over the last 15 years. Gonzales, who operates Ranchito Tivo Boer Goats based in Chino said he would hire out goats for property as small as 5 acres and travel to adjacent counties. 

“I have 350 Boer goats,” said Gonzales. “It takes about 200 goats to clear an acre a day.” Gonzales has regular contracts with cities, counties and state-owned properties.

Although some may argue that grazing posts a threat to endangered species, grazing can prevent potential wildfires that take human lives, homes, towns and businesses.