Goats are being deployed across NSW to help protect against bushfires. A number of goats have been recruited to undertake Hazard Reduction grazing trials to evaluate their effectiveness in mitigating future disasters.
Well known for their keen appetite, the “honorary firefighters” are expected to help reduce the fuel load in key high-risk areas.
NSW RFS Inspector Troy Gersback said the grazing trial arose in response to the NSW Government inquiry into the 2019/2020 fire season.
“The NSW RFS is continuing to explore a range of other hazard reduction techniques to better understand the effectiveness of different practices in various circumstances, this includes grazing,” Inspector Gersback said.
The goats, sourced from local farmers, will be grazing around Clandulla and Lue, with similar hazard reduction grazing trials being undertaken in Werris Creek and across the Far South Coast.
The use of goats sets out as an alternative to burning which is heavily reliant upon favourable weather. According to the RFS, the four-legged firefighters will reduce fuel loads rain, hail or shine.
"With the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting a wetter-than-average spring, we can do this work rain, hail or shine," Inspector Gersback said.
"This hazard-reduction window, particularly for burning, it does seem to be getting smaller and smaller each year. So, with tools such as grazing, we can continue this important work ultimately year-round."
With fire season fast approaching, the community is also urged to get their property fire season ready – it is easier than you think.
Simple steps they can undertake to get their property fire-ready include:
1. TRIM overhanging trees and shrubs.
2. MOW grass and remove the cuttings. Have a cleared area around your home.
3. REMOVE material that can burn around your home (e.g. Door mats, wood piles, mulch)
4. CLEAR and remove all the debris and leaves from the gutters surrounding your home.
5. PREPARE a sturdy hose or hoses that will reach all around your home.