Some using goats to prevent Arizona wildfires

May 19, 2014, 4:16 PM | Updated: 9:48 pm

PHOENIX — As firefighters continue to encourage residents in Arizona’s high country to create defensible space around their property in case a fire breaks out, some have found an alternative means to clearing brush.

Goats.

“They eat pretty much 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They take breaks every now and then to digest, but, if it’s a full moon, they just keep going,” said Tanya Baker, owner of Settler Valley Ranch in Dewey, Ariz.

Aside from raising cattle and other animals, Baker and her husband offer an “environmentally-conscious fire fuels abatement program which provides fire breaks and defensible space in urban and wildlife areas without the impact of heavy machinery.”

Baker said there are a lot of benefits to utilizing goats, including cost effectiveness, a more natural recovery process and giving firefighters the upper hand when it comes to protecting homes. The goats can also access terrain too steep or rugged for humans and machinery and they fertilize and till the land.

Unfortunately, Bakers said there are many subdivisions that forgo protection because some homeowners insist the government should pick up the tab for fire fuel abatement.

“Homeowners aren’t willing to take charge and create defensible space around their home.”

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Some using goats to prevent Arizona wildfires