Goats next tool in firefighting?

Could the spread of wildfires be stopped by goats? A group of people at Texas A&M are trying to find out
March 11, 2014 8:28:38 PM PDT
There's an experiment going in a nearby Texas town gaining lots of attention. Could the spread of wildfires be stopped by goats? A group of people at Texas A&M are trying to find out.

Screaming goats are going viral on YouTube, with more than 22 million views. But at Riverside Park in Victoria, goats are taking on a more serious role. They're chewing and munching for 10 hours a day.

It started as a cost-cutting idea for the Parks and Recreation Department but has now become an experiment in wildfire prevention being looked at by Texas A&M foresters who want to find ways to prevent wildfires like the one in Bastrop -- the largest in Texas history. It destroyed dozens of homes and businesses and burned tens of thousands of acres.

A big selling point to using the goats is that they can navigate down steep terrains like river bank, where heavy machinery just can't go. And that makes all the difference in keeping a wildfire from spreading.

Forester Terry Hatfield keeps them motivated and safe.

"When a goat is making any noise, there's something wrong," he said.

Hatfield hopes one day Texas will invest in more firefighting goats and show the country they're more than just for laughs.

Find Foti on Facebook at ReporterFotiKallergis or on Twitter at @FotiKallergis

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