A herd of about 700 goats is working to protect California’s Ronald Reagan Library and Museum from wildfires this summer by eating fire-prone vegetation.
Every year, the Ventura County Fire Department enlists the assistance of hundreds of hungry goats to safeguard the area surrounding the presidential library from potential fires.
These goats, which started their work this week, possess a preference for devouring brush over grass, rendering them perfectly suited for the task of eliminating vegetation that poses a fire hazard.
According to the National Archives, the library has been doing this for over a decade.
"The goats have been fabulous. They truly eat their weight in gold," Randle Swan, the library’s Acting Deputy Director and Supervisory Curator, told the National Archives. During a 2019 wildfire, "the herd cleared the underbrush so well that the fire was unable to maintain the heat it needed to keep moving and was able to be extinguished before reaching the Library and Museum’s main structure."
National Archives/Randle Swan
Goats eat about 4% of their body weight each day, according to Ventura Brush Goats, which will allow these particular furry firefighters to create a fire line of "roughly 150 feet on the hillsides around the campus."
To maximize their grazing efficiency and cover a larger area swiftly, the goats will be enclosed within fencing.
This year, the fire prevention team consists of approximately 700 goats, accompanied by a few sheepdogs and a skilled goat herder who is a human.