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Morgan Hill
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November 29, 2022

Goats help create defensible space

With the ongoing drought brought on by recent consecutive drier-than-normal winters, conditions are primed for another busy, potentially devastating wildfire season, according to authorities.

One of the most effective things property owners can do to prevent the spread of wildfires is to create a buffer of “defensible space” around their lands by cutting back brush, weeds, vegetation and other natural fuels that could be ignited by a passing ember or flame, according to experts. In fact, creating such defensible space, or a firebreak, is required on many properties in California.

West Morgan Hill residents Colin and Madeline Bailie, who recently moved to a home adjacent to open space on El Toro Mountain, this week chose the natural route to protect their property. They hired a herd of goats from Morgan Hill-based Green Goat Landscapers to clear away the steep hillside.

Green Goat owners Brian and Daniel Allen (father and son) showed up at the property July 12 with 150 hungry goats, a Great Pyrenees guard dog, border collies and their shepherd, Edgar.

“In just a few hours, they have already decreased fire danger along the edge of the road,” Madeline Bailie said.

Daniel Allen said this week’s job was Green Goat Landscapers’ first on El Toro since the family started the company almost 10 years ago.

Now is the busy season for Green Goat, Allen said, as many property owners are seeking to get their lands defended before the summer ends. Green Goat specializes in smaller properties up to 10 acres, but they can clear larger sites.

The goats are able to cut wild vegetation down as low as two inches, and can prune the lower branches on most trees, Allen explained. 

Green Goat Landscapers cleared a property on the side of El Toro Mountain July 12. Photo: Jose Cruz
Edgar, the shepherd for Green Goat Landscapers, is pictured with a portion of the herd in west Morgan Hill July 12. Photo: Jose Cruz
Michael Moore
Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.

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