California Company Uses Sheep and Goats To Reduce Wildfire Threat

by Taylor Cunningham

A Southern California-based company has a new, environmentally friendly plan for fighting wildfires.

The startup, called Good Shepherds, uses goats and sheep to graze down excess brush that eventually kindles flames. Currently, husband and wife team Matthew Sablove and his wife Angelica Barrera have about 125 animals that they move from site to site.

“We just started building our relationship with the fire department and Cal Fire,” Sablove told FoxWeather. “They are really interested in working with us on projects.”

Apparently, the hungry livestock crew can mow down more than a quarter of an acre a day. And as a bonus, many of the plants the animals eat are invasive species.

Good Shepherds isn’t the first company to employ farm animals to munch on potential fire brush. There is currently a handful in Northern California. But Sablove and Barrera are the first to set up shop in the southern end of the state.

And the couple hopes that more people open their own similar businesses because their herd hasn’t even made a dent in the landscape.

“For how much land there is, there is nothing,” said Sablove.

Clearing brush and plant life away from homes and businesses is actually a California law. All property owners have to keep an area of 100 feet clear of anything that could spark or spread a wildfire.

So employing animals to do the work is actually genius.

Matthew Sablove believes that wild animals used to graze down brush in the past. And that’s why earlier Californians didn’t suffer through as many wildfires as we see today. But because of over-development, people pushed the animals out.

“We don’t have any more of the longhorn sheep or the deer that would graze and be part of the ecosystem,” he noted.

Currently, Good Shepherds is booked up until the end of the year. But the couple says they can make room for large projects that could make a significant dent in overgrowth.

Boeing 757 Passenger Jet Will Turn Into a Wildfire-Fighting Plane

Goats and sheep aren’t the only new trends in battling worsening wildfire problems. Engineers are also working on turning old Boeing 757s into useful tools.

According to Jalopnik, when the passanger planes go into retirment, people tend to recycle, scrap, or repurpose them into something else entirely. But one plane will soon get back into the sky to work with firefighting crews.

To make that happen, a team with ST Engineering will gut the interior of the 757. And then, they’ll add two large tanks inside that can hold up to 7,000 gallons of water.

“In addition to breathing new life into an otherwise retired aircraft, we are glad…to develop innovative solutions to be used in the crucial fight against forest and wildfires that are increasing in numbers in various hotspots across the world,” said ST Engineering president of commercial aerospace, Jeffrey Lam.