Lifestyle & Human Interest

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Survives Ravenous Wildfire with Help from Goats


Despite the number of fires currently ravaging California, one national treasure was recently saved thanks to the dedication of fire crews and a couple hundred rather unlikely heroes.

In California, weed abatement and dry brush clearing is serious business — one look at the news during this time of the year, and you’ll see why. Dry late-summer/early-fall conditions combined with high winds can create the perfect (fire) storm.

While many people with property in notoriously brushy areas pay crews to clear their land, there’s another way that’s proving to be both effective and beneficial for all involved: Using goats (or sheep) to keep land weed-free.

Goats are notorious for tasting anything they can reach and can even stomach some noxious plants. They’re an all-in-one deal, a weed-and-feed, if you will.

Because they’re a very natural and non-toxic way to keep hillsides trim, it’s become commonplace to see a few shepherds and their dogs out with large herds of goats in certain areas of California.

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The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library has availed themselves of this service, and there are plenty of photos and videos that show the hillside peppered with the four-legged creatures just doing their jobs.

In fact, the goats’ presence this year on parts of the 300 acres surrounding the library is probably what created a vital firebreak that ultimately helped stave off the flames in this most recent Easy Fire.

John Heubusch, the executive director of the library, told KTTV that the fire was “circling the library” and that the firefighters were doing their best.

“It’s the closest this library has ever come to this danger,” he added. “So this is really serious stuff. So far, they seem to be on top of it.”

Melissa Giller, a spokeswoman for the library, said the flames were only about 30 yards away.

“One of the firefighters mentioned that they do believe the goats‘ fire line helped them fight this fire,” she told CNN. “They just proved today how useful they really are.”

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“Non-stop water drops is probably what really saved us,” she also said. “We are just grateful.”

The Easy Fire has burned its way across 1,300 acres so far, and officials are concerned that high winds will continue to spread the fire until Thursday night.

“Fortunately, this is the last day but this is also the most dangerous day where we think those Santa Ana winds are going to be ferocious,” Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean said on “Fox & Friends.”

The National Weather Service also issued an urgent fire weather message, warning residents that the danger isn’t over yet.

“These prolonged dangerous fire weather conditions combined with the very dry fuels and presence of existing fires and associated flare-ups adds up to extreme Red Flag conditions for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. As a result, there is high potential for very rapid fire growth and extreme fire behavior with new or existing fires,” their update read.

“Use extreme caution with any potential ignition sources, and residents in high fire risk areas should be ready and set to evacuate if emergency officials say so.”

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