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132 billygoats gruff chew on Quesnel underbrush

Goats take bite out of fire fuel and invasive species
Vahana Nature Rehabilitation goats work on eating forest vegetation that could be a fire hazard. (File photo)

Getting wildfires’ goat is exactly what the City of Quesnel is doing out in the bush. These methodical munchers with impressive intestinal fortitude are eating their way to fire safety for local residents.

“Since June 18, a herd of 132 goats has been eating vegetation in and around the Fuel Management Trails and will continue to do so for the next two weeks,” said a statement from the City of Quesnel. “Concerns over emissions of conventional mowing and brushing equipment, pesticide and herbicide use, and other chemical effects on our ecosystems have led many to contemplate ‘earth-friendlier’ options when managing the landscapes we call home. A safe (and adorable) alternative to many of our fueled and chemical treatments is using goats for grass, weed, and brush control.”

The City’s Forestry Initiatives Program has partnered with the Vahana Nature Rehabilitation and its team of goats to help reduce wildfire risk and combat invasive plants.

“The goats are moved around strategically to reduce the amount of grass and other green vegetation that will cure and dry and increase the fire hazard as the summer moves forward” says Erin Robinson, the Forestry Initiatives Manager for the city of Quesnel.

The goats will be available for the public to see on Tuesday June 27 and Wednesday June 28 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. beside the Fuel Management Trail parking lot off of Quesnel-Hixon Rd.

Owner- operator of Vahana Nature Rehabilitation, Cailey Chase, will be on hand to answer questions.

If livestock isn’t an option for keeping your property clear of fire fuels, FireSmart recommends the following:

Regularly mow and water grass within 10 metres around your home and other structures.

Prune evergreen tree branches two metres from the ground if they are within 30 metres of your home.

Remove all combustible materials (twigs, dry grass, logs and leaves) within 10 metres of your home.

Do not use bark or pine needle mulch around your home as they are highly flammable.

Thank-you to the Community Resilience Investment Program for their generous support of this initiative.

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READ MORE: Quesnel forestry manager wins award