Four hundred goats are being used to remove brush along U.S. Highway 101 in Sonoma County as an eco-friendly fire prevention measure, Caltrans said Wednesday.
In order to create a firebreak, the brush removal project will extend along a 2-mile stretch of Highway 101 between Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg and Canyon Road in Geyserville.
According to Caltrans, the goats will stay on location until the roadside brush is fully cleared, an estimated 12-16 days, due to goats having the capacity to consume between an acre to an acre-and-a-half of dry vegetation per day.
Caltrans said it has used goats at other locations but never on this scale. To coordinate the implementation of the project, Caltrans has worked closely with state Sen. Mike McGuire’s office, Cal Fire, and the North Sonoma Coast Fire Protection District.
McGuire said in a news release:
“Sonoma County has gone through hell and back with these wildland fires, and now, emergency preparedness and prevention has become a part of our daily lives.”
“It may sound funny, but goats are some of the most effective partners we have at reducing fire load.”
To control and protect the goats, temporary fencing will be installed, and a goat herder and guard dog will be onsite. However, drivers are reminded to drive with caution through work or maintenance zones.
The operation will not cause any lane or highway closures.