Livestock Grazing for Fire Hazard Reduction
Wildfire activity in recent years has really elevated the need for properly managed livestock grazing to help reduce fuel especially in the wildland/urban interface. University of California Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources adviser Dan Macon says increased grazing is starting to pay dividends in some areas.
Macon… “We actually just saw a really good example of the value of grazing in the fire that we had here in Placer and Nevada county last week. The River Fire really laid down when it reached some of the ranching country in Nevada county, and gave CAL FIRE a chance to get ahead of it and really get it contained. There's more and more interest in grazing as a fire suppression, fire hazard reduction tool. And I think that gives some opportunity to ranchers at a time like this.”
However, there are a lot of logistics involved when grazing these areas. Macon says it’s important to remember that these animals need infrastructure and management.
Macon… “I think a big one that we have to constantly remind our urban and suburban neighbors is that livestock aren't like a lawnmower. You don't just put it away in the shed when you're done using it. And so part of the logistical challenge is knowing where your animals are going to be before a project and where they're going afterwards. They have to eat every day.”
Macon says protection from predators is also an important consideration.