WATCH: Hundreds of goats enlisted in wildfire prevention efforts

By , KCBS Radio

The goats have returned.

Monterey County, California has recruited 600 goats destined for Jacks Peak Park to eat their way through the area’s thick brush and vegetation.

Their task will continue for the next several weeks, according to an announcement by county officials on Thursday, as reported by Bay City News via SFGate.

While the goats are merely filling their bellies, their agenda is vital to the safety of the county – the growth they’ll be munching on can fuel wildfires.

This isn’t the first time the county has used goats for this purpose. Goats are known for having strong appetites and can graze unfettered. Over the years they have frequently helped with brush clearing campaigns in wildfire prevention efforts.

This year’s campaign is part of a multi-strategy approach to wildfire risk, officials said. With a $116,789 grant from CAL FIRE, the goal is to target the park and surrounding areas.

Human crews have already done the heavy lifting by removing dead and dying trees that pose a fire risk. The goats will tackle the next step, and in the final phase the human crews will return to clear away any additional debris exposed by the grazing.

According to officials, the goats will graze eastward through the park’s road and clear away vegetation from a 100-foot to 200-foot radius off each side of the road.

Herders, dogs and electric fencing will prevent the goats from wandering off or getting hurt.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images