Every now and then a goat or two can be spotted blithely mowing someone’s lawn in Astoria. Well, the Chelan County Fire District 1 kicked it up a notch or three when it hired around 320 goats from Billy’s Goats Targeted Grazing Services of Ephrata, Washington, to clear out dry grass, etc., that has become a wildfire hazard near Wenatchee, Washington, the Seattle Times reports (bit.ly/goatslope).
The critters are chowing down on everything in sight, creating a defensible fire zone in an area that is too steep (35 to 50 degrees) to be accessible to mowing machinery. And besides, goats — who work in two shifts, grazing 15 to 16 hours a day — are a lot cheaper than human labor, at about $1,600 per acre. Better yet, the bill is being footed by a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant. Some of Billy Porter’s goats are pictured, courtesy of the company’s Facebook page.
In case you’re wondering, the goats are protected by a moveable electric fence, a very large guard dog named Nanny and a herder named Todd Waits, who really enjoys his job. “The best thing,” told the Seattle Times, “is being alone in good company.”