For the second year, the Pine Ridge Community along with South Metro Fire Rescue brought in hundreds of goats to help mitigate fire danger in neighborhoods with excessive vegetation.
Goats have proven to be useful tools when it comes to fire mitigation, according to Einar Jensen with South Metro Fire and Rescue.
The animals love to eat invasive weeds and oak which fuel wildfires, Jensen says. Plus, their hooves aerate the soil and what they eat eventually turns to fertilizer. Experts call it a “win-win” for the goats and the community.
“It’s not just me going out and cutting branches off my favorite tree and saying I’m done. This is real, on the ground innovation mitigation,” Jensen said.
Many neighborhoods in Castle Pines are at a high risk for fire danger. With 22 acres of open space, mitigation efforts can be critical. The community has tried using machinery to get rid of the vegetation in the past. That has proven to be problematic in the long run because weeds often return in full force.
Last year, the Pine Ridge Community decided to use goats instead.
Unlike machinery, goats eat weeds and oak from the root which helps decrease its return, according to Jensen.
Three hundred goats belong to Lani Malmberg with Goat Green roamed free in areas with excessive vegetation in Castle Pines. Crowds came to watch the animals crowd suburban backyards.
“They’re all just gathered together and they’re just eating, it’s kind of a food fest,” says 12-year-old spectator Caitlin Alexander, “If you come at the end of the week you can see all the stuff is gone.”
It costs $1,000 to rent 300 goats per day. This is being paid for by the Pine Ridge Community's HOA. The South Metro Fire Rescue also contributed to the mitigation project.