Boise, Sept. 17, 2013 - The goats are back!
And once again, the grazing critters are serving a potentially life and property saving purpose; reduce fire fuels. This time, the goats are grazing in an area burned five years ago during the devastating Oregon Trail Fire.
The effort is part of the ongoing revegetation and erosion control plan developed in coordination with Ada County and the City of Boise after the 2008 Oregon Trail Fire. The goats are courtesy of Idaho Power. Later this winter, Idaho Power will seed the mowed buffer strip with forage kochia, which is less susceptible to fire than the existing vegetation.
"It was five years ago last month that the tragic Oregon Trail Fire really drove home the importance of defensible space and fire resistant landscaping." said Capt. Jerry McAdams, the Wildfire Mitigation Coordinator for the Boise Fire Department. "Sadly, this past summer, several nearby fires devastated more rural communities not far from Boise, again burning homes. Our goal is to help property owners protect, not only their homes and property, but to potentially save lives as well."
Lessons from the Oregon Trail Fire: Boise now has four nationally recognized Firewise Communities in Boise, with two more communities coming on board this year.
The Boise Fire Department and the City of Boise have also taken steps in the past five years to better serve and protect the public in regard to wildfire. Boise Fire Department has a dedicated Wildfire Mitigation Coordinator and the City of Boise has a dedicated Wildfire Mitigation Team, comprised of individuals from Fire, Parks and Planning.
The City of Boise, in partnership with the Southwest Idaho Resource Conservation & Development Council, Boise District BLM, and numerous Neighborhood Associations and Homeowners’ Associations have accomplished more than $400,000 in wildfire mitigation projects in Boise’s WUI areas, reducing the threat of wildfire to nearby homes. Additionally, wildfire mitigation projects are now eligible for funding under the City of Boise Neighborhood Reinvestment Grant Program.
There are numerous small projects a homeowner can undertake to reduce their risk from the devastating effects of wildfire. The Boise Fire Department provides wildfire risk assessments for individual homeowners and communities. If interested, contact Captain McAdams with the Boise Fire Department at 208-570-6576. For more information and tips on how to protect your property from the devastating effects of wildfire, please check out www.idahofirewise.org.
Idaho Power's recent news release on the grazing goats:
Goats Will Mow Idaho Power Property in Southeast Boise
About 20 acres will be grazed to reduce fire fuels and cleared of weeds. Using four-footed weed-eaters is cost-effective, works well on sloped areas and reduces the need for herbicides
BOISE, Idaho, Sept. 10, 2013 -- More than 100 goats will be used to reduce noxious weeds and other unwanted vegetation in a power-line corridor owned by Idaho Power south of Amity Road over the next couple of weeks.
Idaho Power is contracting with We Rent Goats, a Homedale company that uses the goats for vegetation management. They are expected to arrive on Thursday and spend the next 10-14 days in the area east of Holcomb Road, near the Cove East and Homestead subdivisions.
“While the goats are cute and friendly, they also have a job to do,” said Brett Dumas, Environmental Supervisor for Idaho Power, adding that the goats will be kept on the job by temporary electrified netting and guard dogs. “It’s OK to stop by and watch, but please don’t disturb the goats. It’s important to keep dogs and children away from the goats and the guard dogs,” Dumas said.
The goats will be feeding on a variety of plants, including grasses, weeds and shrubs. Reducing this vegetation lowers the risk of fire and prevents the spread of these noxious weeds. Using goats is cost-effective and reduces the need for herbicides.
We Rent Goats owner Tim Linquist said 100 goats will clear an acre of foothills-type vegetation per day, which would mean keeping the goats on the job for up to 20 days. However, if he is able to bring twice that number of goats, the job could be done in 8-10 days.
This is the first time Idaho Power has contracted with a vendor to provide goats for vegetation management on its property. If the effort is successful, there may be future opportunities for the goats, Dumas said.
About Idaho Power Company:
Idaho Power began operations in 1916. Today, the electric utility employs approximately 2,000 people who serve more than 500,000 customers throughout a 24,000-square-mile area in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. With 17 low-cost hydroelectric projects as the core of its generation portfolio, Idaho Power’s residential, business and agricultural customers pay among the nation’s lowest rates for electricity. IDACORP, Inc. (NYSE: IDA) is the investor-owned utility’s parent company based in Boise, Idaho. To learn more, visit www.idahopower.com or www.idacorpinc.com.