Grazing goats reducing fire risk
A herd of 40 firefighting goats – the state’s first goat brigade – are chewing through hectares of fuel loads as the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) continues its hazard reduction grazing trial in the state’s west.
The goats are being used to ‘cell-graze’ between different patches of undergrowth through high-risk areas and are mostly useful where conventional fire reduction methods, such as burning or mechanical clearing, are challenging.
The trial started in August and will continue for several months in different locations across NSW. It is estimated that the goats will eat around a quarter of a hectare of dense vegetation in two weeks, and medium-density vegetation in one week.
Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said the use of grazing goats is in response to a recommendation of the Independent Inquiry into the Black Summer bushfires of 2019/20.
“This alternate mitigation strategy may look like a novel solution, but it provides an important advantage in that it can be implemented rain, hail, or shine,” Mr Elliott said.
The NSW Government has committed almost half a billion dollars in response to the Inquiry, which includes almost $38 million for additional mitigation crews to deliver greater hazard reduction, with a total of 176,499 hectares treated in 2020-2021.