130 goats roam the Oak Park open meadows to clear brush

The Wildfire Prevention Club works to lessen the effects of potential fires, invasive species

In repose, an elder goat lies on the hill at Oak Park while eating brush. (Allie Wang / Talon)

The Wildfire Prevention Club organized a brush clean-up utilizing goats this October. Even with COVID-19 restrictions, this club has found a way to help with the prevention of fires and invasive species in Oak Park. 

“We have been a club for about a year, and we have been trying to plan a brush clearing event since then,” junior and president of the Wildfire Prevention Club Mikayla Kresco said. “Within the first few months of this school year, we pinpointed some places of concern about the brush on the hills. … Then we had a Zoom meeting with Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District and 805 Goats,.” 

A baby goat rests on the hill within the petting area. (Alexa Pinon / Talon)

The Wildfire Prevention Club worked alongside 805 Goats, a goat grazing service, to bring the animals to the spot where the club felt needed the most brush clearing. About 130 goats are currently cleaning one to three acres of brush in the Sunrise Meadows Open Space in Oak Park.

“We saw that there was so much brush and fuel by our houses so we wanted to do something in any way that we could to prevent fires from happening,” Kresco said. “We found the goats to be an eco-friendly way of clearing terrain. They eat from the seed down, so after a few goat cleanings … invasive species are less likely to come back. They are quiet, so there is no noise, and they are a fun and engaging way for people of all ages to get involved.”

Community members are allowed to visit the goats at Sunrise Meadows Open Space at any time, but the club asks for social distancing and mask-wearing. They are also often visible from Fire Station 36 on Deerhill Road.

“We hope this brush clearing serves as a model for the community as an effective method of brush clearing,” Kresco said.

The Wildfire Prevention Club visits the goats. (Photo Courtesy of Mikayla Kresco)