Californians start ‘Goat Fund Me’ to bring in animals as wildfire prevention

California residents have launched a “Goat Fund Me” campaign to bring herds of farm animals to city-owned land as part of a proactive effort to prevent wildfires.

The online fundraiser was sparked by Nevada City residents, in the Sierra Nevada, as the threat of catastrophic wildfires in the state “have become the ultimate cautionary tale.”

The locals behind the campaign, which was launched in December with the goal of raising $30,000, say that because it takes time to secure grant funding, the town needs money now to hire goat ranchers because they’re only available this winter.

City officials said booking a herd of goats costs between $500 to $1,500 an acre. Approximately 200 goats can munch on an acre of overgrown brush daily.

The ranchers have rented out their herds to other municipalities in California the rest of the year and have been expanding their herds to meet demand, officials said.

“Why not do something — and as soon as we can?” Nevada City Vice Mayor Reinette Senum told the Los Angeles Times on Friday. “If we’re not proactive, if we don’t help ourselves, no one else is going to step up.”

The community is located roughly 47 miles southeast of Paradise, which was destroyed by the Camp Fire in November. The blaze left 86 people dead and destroyed close to 19,000 structures in Butte County.

Funds donated to the crowdsourcing campaign will go directly to “the City of Nevada City, overseen by Financial Directory, Loree McCay,” according to the fundraiser, which has raised nearly $12,000 of its goal since it was launched.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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