In California, Goats And Sheep Return To Firefighting Duty

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Hundreds of goats and sheep are working around the clock to protect Sacramento, Calif. from wildfires.

For the second year in a row, the city deployed the herd to clear out hundreds of acres of open fields in and around the city.

“The sustainability of it — the ability to do something without the use of mechanical equipment — that is lessening the carbon footprint,” said Shawn Aylesworth, park maintenance manager for the city of Sacramento. “And it’s all geared toward the protection of the neighborhoods that border these open areas.”

Extreme grazing is not new. Ranchers have been doing it for as long as there have been ranches. But cities are slowly adopting it as a climate-friendly alternative to machinery.

“There really isn’t a cost savings. It’s really the benefit of what we’re doing for the environment and our stewardship responsibilities,” Aylesworth said.

The animals can clear-cut a few acres in a few days.

The goal is to reduce the wildfire threat to the houses nearby.

100 percent of the state of California is in some level of drought, and the state’s capital city is in a severe drought.

Using the herd reduces the risk of an accidental spark from a lawnmower starting a fire.

The goats and sheep will finish their first tour of duty in a few weeks, but they’ll be back in the summer when the fields are really dried out.

By Scott Withers, Newsy