Skip to Content

Homeowners fund their own fire prevention efforts using an aggressive team of goats in a volatile canyon

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Homeowners in the Eucalyptus Hill Improvement Association (EHIA) have brought in a herd of goats to begin reducing the fire dangers in a canyon that could be explosive in a wildland fire.

The EHIA said its 700 members want to get ahead of the wildfire dangers this year as they have before, in this very rugged area. If humans were in there, they would have to contend with poison oak and steep hills to remove the weeds and brush.

Nearby homeowners are also chipping away fire fuels including small trees and overgrowth to create a defensible space if a fire should break out or spread in the area.

The goats are from the Ventura Brush Goat company that specializes in this kind of work. The area should be trimmed down within a week with the constant cycle of eating by the goats of all sizes.  

Eucalyptus Hill Improvement Association President Sue Burk said, "we have been doing this program for three years, this is the second time in that canyon.  We did the canyon behind me last year. It is a really good program after all the rains. To have the goats come in and knock that down and also they are able to get up into the trees ...that's what makes this like a fire break for us"

Burk says there have been many close calls for the residents. "We've had so many fires and evacuations up here, everybody's on board this is completely funded by neighbors donations and so it doesn't take a lot of convincing."

The EHIA is well organized in its preparations. There are block captains, a radio system and a newsletter to inform residents of happenings in their area and especially what is happening in an emergency. Several have been evacuated before many times including during the destructive Tea fire in November 2008.

Burk says the fire department has inspected their brush clearing work and "they are totally on board with us doing this, we have talked to them many times and they are happy we are doing it.   It helps them!"   

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


News Channel 3-12 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content