City’s ‘Goat Fund Me’ to pre­vent wild­fires

The Tribune (SLO) (Sunday) - - News -

The threat of cat­a­strophic wild­fires has driven a Cal­i­for­nia town to launch a “Goat Fund Me” cam­paign to bring herds of goats to city­owned land to help clear brush.

Ne­vada City in the Sierra Ne­vada be­gan the on­line crowd­sourc­ing cam­paign last month with the goal of rais­ing $30,000 for the project.

The cam­paign’s web­site ex­plains that be­cause it takes time to se­cure grant fund­ing, the town needs money now to hire goat ranch­ers be­cause they’re only avail­able this win­ter.

The ranch­ers have rented out their herds to other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in Cal­i­for­nia the rest of the year and were ex­pand­ing their herds to meet de­mand, city of­fi­cials said.

“Why not do some­thing – and as soon as we can?” Vice Mayor Reinette Senum told the Los An­ge­les Times . “If we’re not proac­tive, if we don’t help our­selves, no one else is go­ing to step up.”

The foothill com­mu­nity is about 47 miles south­east of Par­adise, which was razed by a wild­fire in Novem­ber that killed 86 peo­ple and de­stroyed about 14,000 homes.

City of­fi­cials said book­ing a herd costs be­tween $500 to $1,500 an acre. Some 200 goats can munch on an acre of over­grown brush daily.

City Man­ager Ca­t­rina Ol­son said she, along with res­i­dents at­tend­ing coun­cil meet­ings to talk about the project, are ex­cited about the im­pend­ing work, an idea “that’s catch­ing on be­cause there’s such high fire dan­ger in our state.”

“It’s an in­ter­est­ing way to run a city cam­paign,” said Brad Fowler, a lo­cal rancher work­ing with the city to rent out goats. “I like how peo­ple can choose to spend their money.”

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