I recently visited the PineRidge Firewise Community located in the Castle
Pines area south of Denver as they celebrated a creative method of hazardous
fuels reduction. South Metro Fire Rescue Authority Community Risk
Reduction Specialist Einar Jensen and Firewise community point of contact Barb Saenger
held a community get together where the stars of the program were, well, uh,
That's right, goats. After mechanically thinning a common area in a
small canyon below the subdivision about 3 years ago, the community worked with
a rancher from Cheyenne, Wyoming to bring his goats in to deal with re-growth
and noxious weeds. The goats were all about getting at new Gambel oak and
Canada Thistle growth and seemed quite content with the task. Goats are especially
effective on noxious weeds that other grazers won't touch while at the same time
aerating the soil with their hooves, and of course, fertilizing as they graze.
PineRidge has been a Firewise Community since 2008 and was a 2016 NFPA
Wildfire Community Preparedness Day campaign awardee and also received a
cash award from South Metro Fire Rescue Authority. The PineRidge
Homeowners Association paid for the goats which runs about $1000.00 a day for
300 goats. See the local 9News story here.
So, with the sun shining, children laughing, Fire engines gleaming and goats
munching, another community works towards reducing its wildfire risk.
(photo credit: Thomas Welle NFPA)