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Laguna Beach

 Volume 13, Issue 37  |  May 7, 2021


No kidding, the goats are back to kick off the City’s 2021 Fuel Modification Program

The first 150-head goat herd arrived in Laguna last week to initiate the City’s 2021 Fuel Modification Program.

With the arrival of a 150-head goat herd, fuel modification programs to help reduce invasive brush and the risk of wildfires within the City of Laguna Beach are in full swing.

No kidding Saddleback

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Goats grazing last year in view of Saddleback Mountain

Laguna Beach has been using goats as part of its fuel reduction and vegetation management program since the early 1990s. City Manager Ken Frank got the idea from a similar program in the San Francisco Bay area. The program was expanded after a wildfire burned across 14,000 acres, destroying or damaging 441 homes in Laguna Beach in 1993.

Because of the climate, types of natural vegetation, and expansive wildlands in Southern California, including wildlands that reach into the City, there is an ongoing risk of wildfires. Fully aware of the risk, the Laguna Beach Fire Department is very proactive in vegetation management.

No kidding sign

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Please respect the goats as they do their job to protect our City 

Due to a lack of rain over the winter, the Laguna Beach Fire Department anticipates only needing two goat herds (150-head in each herd for a total of 300 goats) to handle this year’s new regrowth. If there is a growth spurt in vegetation, more goats will be brought in.

A movable goat pen with electric fencing keeps the goats from wandering off and protects them from coyotes and other wild animals.

The City’s veteran goatherder, Agotilio Moreno, is a native of Peru, where his family still lives. This is his 26th year tending the goat herds for the City of Laguna Beach.

No kidding herder

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Courtesy of City of LB

Agotilio Moreno takes care of the goats

Last year there was record regrowth, and the City’s goat herd was 700 goats strong – the largest it’s ever been since the program started in 1993.

As part of the City’s fuel modification program, a team of experienced hand crews also work in fuel modification zones to clear brush by hand as needed.

Please respect the goats and the work they do to keep our community safe. Do not approach them – they are not pets!

Stu News will keep readers updated on the location of the goats as they hopscotch through the hills.

 

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Maggi Henrikson, Sara Hall, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

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