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Opinion: Goats as Firefighting Equipment

Let me be optimistic for a moment. Let's assume that the Bobcat Fire is stopped well above Monrovia. That would be wonderful. But what about the future?

I understand that large swaths of brush above Monrovia haven't burned since 1957. That's an awful lot of dry brush, and if it doesn't burn now it'll burn later, and more intensely because there'll be even more of it. I understand that if it burns too hot it destroys the plants and their seeds.

What could we do about that? Well, there are controlled burns, but I'm sure they are very expensive and there is always the possibility they will get out of control and we could cause the disaster we want to prevent.

Here's another idea. I was talking with City Historian Steve Baker about the fire and he mentioned that long ago goats were used to control the underbrush. Add goats, they eat underbrush, and the amount of fuel is reduced. Then round up the fat goats and send them off elsewhere.

He said this was stopped for environmental reasons, but I imagine things have changed since then and perhaps now the environmental concerns can be more effectively addressed.

I'm no expert on goats and underbrush and fires but it seems goats should at least be considered. And if not goats then something else, because the more the brush builds up the bigger a disaster it could be in the future. 

- Brad Haugaard

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