Today’s Solutions: May 20, 2024

Back in April, a squadron of 500 goats was released on the lands that surround Ronald Reagan Presidential Library near Los Angeles. Why? To munch their way through around 13 acres of scrubland around the library that could’ve provided tinder-like fuel to a wildfire–one that would arrive some 7 months later.

This preventive action created a fire break between the library and the Easy fire, which has menaced thousands of homes in the Simi Valley near Los Angeles. More than 1,000 firefighters are tackling the blaze, which caused flames to approach the presidential library from a nearby hillside. 

The goats were sourced from a firm called 805 Goats, which oversees an army of horned contractors, including Vincent van Goat, Selena Goatmez, Goatzart, and, more prosaically, Oreo. The company charges fire-threatened clients about $1,000 per acre of goat-cleared land. It plans to expand its herd to cope with a growing wildfire threat in California, fueled by the climate crisis.

Goats are growing in popularity as a tool to combat wildfires across the western US, as they are viewed as cheaper and more environmentally friendly than teams of human workers using chemicals. Plus, they actually work. The Ronald Reagan Library, which contains treasures such as a piece of the Berlin Wall and Air Force One, still stands, thanks to the goats, while flames rage nearby.

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