Orange County

Make Way for the Herd! Goats Are Eating Away at Orange County

What you "herd" about goats in Orange County is true. Goats are being contracted by the Anaheim Fire and Rescue for vegetation management

A herd of more than 180 goats are clearing vegetation to help prevent wildfires ahead of Southern California's dry season in Orange County. 

The group of Boer, Spanish, and Nubian goats are clearing vegetation to prevent wildfires in Deer Canyon Park.

The goats are providing what's known as a defensible space which protects the area by removing dry fuel for a fire, which can be whipped by winds throughout the area and rapidly spread.

"It's a three part process: first the goats will come through, then goats will do their thing," said Sergeant Daron Wyatt of Anaheim Fire and Rescue. "Humans will come through and clear out what's left, and then the third part of this is to plan new growth that will also be preventative when wildfire season comes."

The goats are more efficient and effective than humans as they don't struggle with the terrain and the heat. As goats are filling up their bellies, munching on vegetation, they are preventing major fires throughout the year. 

"I think as we have seen already we are almost in a 12-month fire season cycle now," Wyatt said. "We used to have our fires late summer, early fall. We've already had several major wildfires in Orange County this year so far and it's already shaping up to be a bad season. So the more we can do in preparation and the more residents can do, the better off we will be."

The goats are expected to stay in Deer Canyon for through July, then expected to move onto Oak Canyon Nature Reserve in the Santa Ana foothills.

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