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Goats serve as a critical tool in reducing Utah wildfires

Posted at 7:05 PM, Jul 06, 2018

BOUNTIFUL, Utah -– With fire season underway, hired goats are in high demand to help cut wildfire risk.

A herd of goats is mowing down grassy overgrowth in a Bountiful yard. The homeowner hired Greg Cover, who owns and operates 4 Leaf Ranch.

“We’re the only licensed and insured people doing it in the state.”

Cover has brought in 80 goats and 10 sheep for this assignment.

“As you can see, they’re reducing the fire fuels, the scrub oak, your cheat grass,” he said.

The grazers are covering a lot of ground.

“This is our second day here and they’re almost done, and this is an acre and a half.”

The hired goats are targeting high priority neighborhoods in Bountiful, Emigration Canyon and City Creek.

“We`re going after the risk and the preventative measures,” Cover said.

Cover says the goats are efficient because they can easily navigate difficult terrain.

“Manpower going up these hills like that it`s hard on ankles, it`s hard on knees, plus it`s dangerous trying to operate the equipment while you`re up there.”

It’s an investment that Cover says can give homeowners peace of mind.

“Once a fire happens it gets into the millions of dollars real quick. For fire breaks, especially on the hills like this, we’re anywhere from one thousand two hundred an acre.”

Greg’s young sons Cash and Josh are learning the ropes so they can take over the family business some day.

“We’re over 400 goats right now. We’re actually looking at getting a thousand goats more and that still won’t keep up with the demand along the Wasatch front,” Cover said.

Cover’s team is involved in four projects right now. They typically complete about 100 projects from April to November.