Local residents using flocks of goats to help fight fires

Goats feast on vegetation to create firebreaks

SAN DIEGO - While some fight fires with water, residents in Lemon Grove are fighting fires with hundreds of goats.

Johnny Gonzalez of Environmental Land Management said, "It does an excellent job of getting rid of any flash fuels that burn into the neighborhood."

For 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the next few weeks, the goats will systematically carve firebreaks by eating up dry fuel.

"It's like an all-day buffet," said Gonzalez.

For the third year, the goats have created freshly chomped buffer areas for dozens of Lemon Grove homes.

The goats have their own neighborhood welcome signs, and their popularity is a huge draw, but so is their price.

Lemon Grove fire inspector Tom Rosenberger said, "In the past, it's been about $1,200 an acre to get a crew out here. I contacted Johnny out here with the goats, and he's about half the price and he treats twice a year, so it's a quarter of the price."

"Like kids in a candy shop, they just tear into it," said Gonzalez.

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