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Hundreds of goats will soon chew away at wildfire threat in Washington

The goats will munch on weedy vegetation in an area of Spokane to mitigate the risk of fire.
Credit: FILE - AP Photo/David Goldman
A goat grazes on a plot of land owned by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, in Atlanta.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Hundreds of goats will soon munch on vegetation in the Spokane area to mitigate the risk of wildfires. 

Healing Hooves will deploy approximately 200 goats into the Hangman Park area for six days beginning Thursday, Oct. 22. They will chew away at weedy vegetation to mitigate the risk of fire, and reduce the use of manual labor and expensive machinery.

CNN reported in September 2020 that Forest Grove, a city 25 miles east of Portland, was using a herd of 230 goats from Healing Hooves out of Edwall, Washington, "as a tool to thin undergrowth on undeveloped city-owned property, urban forest and park property." The city has used goats for the past four years. 

The effort is a partnership between Spokane City Council's Public Safety and Community Health Committee and Spokane Parks and Recreation. 

Spokane isn’t the first community in Washington state to use goats as a method of wildfire prevention.

A Federal Emergency Management Agency grant funded the rental of goats to clear flammable brush around Wenatchee in 2019.

RELATED: Wenatchee to hire brush-eating goats to prevent wildfire

This marked the first time Chelan County Fire District 1 rented the animals from a goat herder in Ephrata, Washington.

Brea McGrew, a veterinarian, told Smithsonian Magazine that goats are good for this type of fuel management because they like their food at eye level and would rather eat brush than grass. 

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