PARADISE, Calif. — Wildfire season has become more dangerous with the ongoing drought and dry vegetation. The best way homeowners can prepare is by creating defensible space and clearing fire fuels.
While machinery effectively gets the job done, Butte County Fire Safe Council and Hanski Family Farms are introducing an alternative...goats.
"The goats come out and eat, and they don't leave a lot of residue or pollution behind. It's the green way to do things, and they do a good job of it," said Swede Hanski, owner of Hanski Family Farms.
Hanski Family Farms is the only local large-scale grazer, helping reduce hundreds of acres of fire fuels throughout the Northstate.
Hanski said they began raising goats two years ago and have grown quickly due to increased wildfire risk.
"We went from 20 goats to 1,500 goats, so it's booming," Hanski said. "We could use several thousand tomorrow and still not have enough to meet our demand."
Depending on the property, Hanski said the cost ranges from $400 to $600 an acre, and they have done anything from one-fourth of an acre to hundreds of acres, providing all the tools necessary.
"We come in as a full service. We set electric net fencing; we organize water and logistics, and on larger projects, anything over an acre, we have a herder on-site site 24/7 as well as guard dogs."
Hanski said the challenge in getting more people to utilize goats is partly the cost and partly because the public doesn't know they're available. They hope the first-ever goat grazing festival will attract more interest and inquiries.
"Goats are green; they work all day and all night," Hanski said. " They don't complain. And also, on those red-flagged days when you can't be out mowing and running power equipment, and goats don't have any issues with that, they can work all through fire season and provide a great service."
To report errors or issues with this article please email the editorial team.