Hungry goats help prevent fires in California by munching through brush on hills

For more than two decades, hungry goats have helped lessen the chances of wildfires in Southern California by feeding on the fire-prone brush in the hills of Laguna Beach.

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In previous years, Laguna Beach had two herds roaming the hills. However, wet weather last winter resulted in more vegetation than usual, so a third herd was brought in, KTLA reported.

Laguna Beach Fire Marshal James Brown said contracting work to a goat-herding company was a tax-saving move, since hiring a hand crew would be much more expensive, KABC reported.

Agotilio Moreno has been herding goats for city officials since the 1990s, the television station reported.

Moreno, a native of Peru, told KABC the job was easy because he has worked higher elevations in the Andes Mountains. He added that he visits his wife and three daughters in Peru every three years when he needs to renew his visa.

Moreno's two youngest daughters are studying to be environmental engineers, and the money he makes helps finance their education, the television station reported.

Brown said in 2017, nearly 500 goats were used in the Laguna Beach hills and only 150 were needed in 2018. However, the heavy rains this year forced city officials to bring in more goats.

"So we had a lot of growth and now we're having to deal with that growth by using the goats to cut it down," Brown told KABC.

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