Sheep save a park from a fire in Chile

A herd of goats saved a park in Chile from a devastating fire, as locals in the southern city of Santa Juana seek help from a special unit to help put out the fires, a herd of goats.

Forest fires prevented

The city was badly affected by forest fires earlier this year.

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Bosques de Chacay was once saved by goats, as forest fires in February prevented it from devouring the park.

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The fires, triggered by heat waves and a severe drought, have left dozens dead and thousands injured, and destroyed nearly 440,000 hectares in south-central Chile.

Build a barrier

“The park was surrounded by fire, but it ended up being the only patch of green left,” Rocío Cruces said.

Cruces is co-founder of the 16-hectare (40-acre) park and Buena Capra project, which uses goats to build a fire barrier.

The method also used in Portugal and Spain relies on pasture goats to control dry meadows and other green pastures that fuel wildfires in summer. Goat droppings also enrich the soil and prevent erosion.

And Crucis continued: The fire reached our forest, but only the first row of trees was damaged, and it represents less than ten percent of the park, adding that small fires broke out, but did not spread due to the lack of grass.

Deadly forest fires

Corsys started the project after deadly bushfires in 2017, and her herd has since grown from 16 goats to 150, and she hopes to inspire others to do the same.

“In Chile, we fail to prevent fires,” said Francisco de Napoli, a forest management engineer from the University of Concepción in Chile familiar with a technique known as strategic grazing.

And he added: These animals can help us a lot, stressing that other organizations should evaluate the places where this can be applied, and find places that fuel fires and make goats eat them.

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