U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Fire Science Brief, Issue 34, January 2009


US government work.


In the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) methods for reducing fire hazards such as prescribed burns and mechanical thinning, may be less than ideal in terms of effectiveness, let alone in acceptance by community residents. Kathy Voth may be a harbinger of change. Her work with goat herds to reduce and prevent wildfire provides another option for fuel managers. Goats vigorously eat fire prone vegetation like oakbrush, while trampling parts of the area to bare dirt—such areas treated by goats can stop a fire cold. Voth’s results show the promise of using domesticated animals as part of our fire prevention workforce. In certain situations, goats may be able to save money, while creating new and effective ways of managing fire-prone landscapes.