They work long hours, never require breaks and hardly want a pension.
They’re the perfect remedy for clearing away vegetation and ideal for fuel mitigation, say fire department officials.
About 110 goats will be brought into the city Thursday to graze the hillside in the 500 block of Collis Avenue, just below Hanscom Drive, known as Elephant Hill. The effort is the solution to a potential spreading wildfire, according to South Pasadena Fire Department Chief Paul Riddle, holding a pair of toy-stuffed goats, while making the announcement during last week’s local City Council that the animals were coming to town.
The fire department secured Sage Environmental Group to get the job done in the city-owned, unimproved property full of vegetation “that we’re concerned about,” said Riddle.
He says it will take roughly 10 to 20 days to clear out 10 acres, eating from morning to night, staged by a rancher who monitors their progress daily.
“The are actually managed very well so they don’t over graze,” explained Riddle,“and take it down to nothing.”
While chomping on dry grass, leaves, shrubs and even poison oak, the goats receive supplemental protein “to help keep them healthy,” he added.
The advantage of using goats, Riddle said, is they can reach hard to get places, climbing up and down sometimes steep and rocky hillsides. They also offer a greener solution to clearing brush over traditional noisy polluting bulldozers and machines.
Sage Environmental officials say the goats “love it,” Riddle noted, saying he looks forward to seeing them in action as vegetation management is among their specialties for brush and weed control, eliminating pretty much everything in their path.
The company brochure shows a herd of goats, with the message: “Invite me and a few of my friends to lunch at your place.”
Riddle took the company up on the request. “I think it’s great,” he said, insisting the fire prevention measure is necessary. “This area we’re concerned about should be managed creatively, and this is the perfect way to do it since the fuel has grown with the excessive rains over the winter.”