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Santa Barbara, CA-A major grazing effort is underway to protect Santa Barbara County residents in the event of a brush fire. The Santa Barbara County Fire Safe Council is using goats and lambs from Cuyama Lamb and Golden State Goats to graze the areas that have been identified as high or  very high fire severity zones. The grazing is currently happening in the area around Santa Barbara County Fire Headquarters at 4110 Cathedral Oaks in Santa Barbara. The treatment in that area faces the city and is considered to be particularly beneficial as it helps tie into the fuel breaks that dot the city.

Prescribed grazing is a versatile and ecologically-based wildfire mitigation strategy. According to Chipping and Grazing Program Project Manager Jessie Tobin, “Herbivory is a great tool to use when it comes to fuel mitigation to assist in reducing fuel loads in high fire severity areas. The sheep and goats have the ability to access areas that are often difficult to treat mechanically and provide an ecological alternative to mechanical applications. Plus it’s a great way to bring awareness to the public about wildfire risk and education, everyone loves to see the herds munching away!”

So far this year 171 acres have been grazed in the San Marcos Foothills, the Montecito Water District and Tea Gardens, the Montecito-Ennisbrook Preserve, the San Marcos Trout Club, Baron Ranch and San Roque. In all, the Santa Barbara County Fire Safe Council is planning to utilize the goats and lambs to graze 855 acres in 2024.

Contact: (805) 637-6580 for photo and interview ops

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