Durango, Colorado — One former wildland firefighter helped start a new business called Durangot in Durango that uses unconventional weapons to reduce the risk of fires.
They release a herd of 12 goats onto a property with overgrown vegetation, weeds and shrubs for the goats to nibble on.
Jonathan Bathory is one of the co-founders of Durangote. He says he spent four years fighting fires in the Pacific Northwest.
“It doesn’t take long to realize that our forest management has gone wrong. What we are doing now is necessary, but we are saving homes and protecting people’s livelihoods.” So we have a bigger solution,” he said.
When Bartley moved to Durango, he quickly discovered the solution was a goat.
“I befriended Breen Mesa Farms, a local goat cheese farmer in town, and in February they said they had 90 percent male goats,” he said.
Afterwards, Bartley said they provided him with some of those male goats and offered to tutor him.
Bartley, who had no experience with livestock, took in unwanted goats and raised them to do what they do best: munching.
“What they’re doing is clearing out what’s called ladder fuel…so if you eliminate the bottom layer of fuel, you get a little more of a fire-safe environment.” There’s a gap, canopy,” said Bartley.
The goat takes a piece of thick brush and thins it.
“There are more benefits than just coming here with a chainsaw.
Bartley misses being a firefighter, but he said it still makes a difference, just because he has different companions.
“I still feel like I’m playing that role. You don’t have to be on the front lines to be part of the wild firefighting effort.”
Bartley added that grazing goats also helps retain water and helps eliminate invasive plant species.