Wildfire prevention in Moraga Canyon features grazing goats and community yard preparation

July 2, 2024
Wildfire prevention in Moraga Canyon features grazing goats

Wildfire prevention: Goats help clear vegetation as community prepares for fire season

As grazing goats arrive in Moraga Canyon to clear dead grasses on the hillside, The Piedmont Fire Department is advising homeowners to trim trees and shrubs, clear flammable materials, and remove dead vegetation around their properties.

The East Bay hills have experienced multiple significant wildfires in the last 150 years.

Recent wildfires across California have highlighted the importance of managing vegetation around homes to reduce the spread and severity of fires.

These measures can help protect communities from wildfire threats.

Guidelines for preparing your yard

Homeowners are encouraged to remove all vegetation within 5 feet of their homes.

However, even small steps can make a difference in wildfire protection.

The Piedmont Fire Department recommends creating space between plants and buildings, pruning plants away from structures, and separating tree canopies by at least 10 feet.

It’s important to trim trees so that the lowest branches are at least 6 feet from the ground, and to clear dead plants, grass, and weeds from yards.

Additionally, leaves and pine needles should be removed from roofs, gutters, and the ground.

Flammable materials, such as paint or propane containers, should be kept away from decks and buildings.

Residents are advised to maintain all plants in their yards, removing any dead or dying vegetation.

For those with eucalyptus trees, shedding bark and leaves should be cleared away.

A checklist for yard preparation is available from the Fire Department, which also offers property inspections to help identify necessary actions.

Year-round efforts to mitigate wildfire risk

The use of grazing goats to clear dry grasses is part of the year-round vegetation management work by Piedmont Public Works to reduce wildfire risk.

This follows a large vegetation clearing project above the Corporation Yard, where trees and low-lying vegetation were removed from the steep hillside.

Maintenance staff continuously monitor and remove dead and dying vegetation in parks and public spaces, and annual street tree trimming helps keep branches away from residents’ roofs.

Fire department’s role in disaster preparedness

The Fire Department engages in staff training and public outreach around disaster preparedness throughout the year.

In 2022, the department conducted Piedmont’s first practical wildfire evacuation exercise, providing staff and the public with hands-on experience in wildfire response.

Recently, the emergency operations procedures were updated based on lessons learned from that exercise, with plans for another evacuation exercise soon.

Additionally, the process of updating the local hazard mitigation plan will begin, focusing on long-term strategies to reduce damage from natural disasters, including wildfires, earthquakes, and floods.

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