Nature’s little helpers

Grazing sheep mitigate the spread of wildfire

Cities across California partner with sheep and goat owners to put into practice a more sustainable way to prevent wildfires across the state.

One such business is Cuyama Lamb, LLC. The company uses sheep to graze for fire mitigation as well as integrated crop management and ecological restoration.

Anthony Graham manages around 100 sheep as they graze the dry vegetation in Elings Park in Santa Barbara.

The sheep spend about a day working on one acre of land. Dry vegetation and rising temperatures are two of the primary causes of wildfires in California. Using goats or sheep to remove the dry vegetation in the area is an easier and more climate-friendly process.

By using the animals in place of lawnmowers, they are able to consume flammable grasses, which add potential fuel to fires, and they do not emit carbon the way machine-based lawnmowers do.

Using sheep as lawnmowers means they leave natural fertilizer behind as they eat.

Animal grazing is increasing as a popular fire prevention method because it is a sustainable practice and reduces cost.

Private companies and government agencies contract their services to clear land for fire mitigation in areas that are difficult for humans to reach.