Proactive residents of Nevada City, California don’t want to see their town go up in smoke following the recent spate of wildfires across their state and elsewhere. So they are raising money to bring in some help in the form of goats, which are frequently used to clear out vegetation and other edible matter, reports the Guardian.
The town is just 70 miles away from nearby Paradise, California, which was completely destroyed by wildfires last year. One strategy for protecting similarly situated areas is to begin clearing out flammable vegetarian and other debris that could feed a spreading fire.
“There is little need to stress how important it is to the safety and wellbeing of Nevada City citizens and neighboring residents that we reduce the fire load in our surrounding forests and neighborhoods,” said Reinette Senum, Nevada City’s vice-mayor.
That’s where the goats come in. But they don’t come cheaply, with an estimated $30,000 required to clear the 450 acres of green space that has been identified as overgrown and a danger in the event of wildfire.
To finance the project, the city has launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign affectionally dubbed “Goat Fund Me.” So far they have raised over half of their $30,000 goal.
Time is of the essence, as nearby goat herds have limited availability and failure to secure their services quickly could mean waiting another year, and a thus another dangerous wildfire season.
“Our local ranchers have already rented out their herds next spring, summer, and fall. And while the ranchers are expanding to meet demand, for now, they are only available to Nevada City on a large scale this winter,” the organizers write on the GoFundMe page.
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Once the goats have done their work as a first pass, human workers will follow to clean up remaining material left behind, such as large tree limbs. A typical herd of goats can clear approximately 200 acres per day.
“We’re breaking it down into bite sizes and prioritizing where the risk is greatest,” Senum said. City council has committed to tackling certain high risk areas first by hand, then moving on to others, hoping to bring in the goats to do the heavy lifting as soon as they can get the fundraising money in place.
Many residents have taken to the idea.
“I recently donated to the Paradise fire victims. I like the idea of funding goats rather than victims,” wrote Dale Albin on the crowdfunding page.
The public can learn more about the project or make a contribution directly from the GoFundMe page.