Goats are good for assisting with fire control. They rapidly reduce shrub biomass, so re-growth is slow and can be reduced quickly.
Long-term studies show that over a five year period, fire prevention treatment time decreases and ultimately a large “park-like” open area is created that slows the spread of fire.
Defense.gov: When it comes to fighting wildfires, most people immediately think of water or fire retardant dropped from helicopters and other aircraft, or soot-covered firefighters using hoses and foam to battle back towering blazes.
Few people, however, think of goats as a firefighting tool, but goats are exactly what the Utah National Guard is using to lessen the potential of wildfires at this installation near Salt Lake City.
The Utah Guard has enlisted more than 1,200 goats and sheep to consume sagebrush and oak brush before this year’s fire season, said Sean Hammond, manager of the Utah Guard’s Integrated Training Area. Less brush means less fuel for wildfires, he explained.
Goats have been used by humans to clear unwanted vegetation for centuries. They have been described as “eating machines” and “biological control agents”.- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goat#Land_clearing
Salt Lake Tribune: The conventional way to build firebreaks is with a bulldozer, which completely gets rid of the plants and their roots. “But we’ve found that with no roots in the ground, there is more possibility for
erosion,” said Sean Hammond. “The goats trim the brush right down to the soil, which is exactly what we want, because the roots are still intact and the grass grows back in fall.”
Garn’s goats also have made regular appearances for the past five years in Emigration Canyon, where both homeowners and the community council have hired them for fire prevention, said Kathy Christensen, the council’s Firewise chairman. “The goats are very suited to the area and do a wonderful job trimming the grass,” she said.