Grazing begins May 17, administered by The Goat Girls LLC
PASO ROBLES — The City of Paso Robles announced the return of goats and sheep to graze the primary firebreaks within the Salinas River, as part of its ongoing efforts to reduce the risk of wildfire. The grazing activities, scheduled to commence on Wednesday, May 17, are part of The City of Paso Robles Vegetation Management Program, which has proven effective in maintaining firebreaks while minimizing environmental impacts.
Following successful grazing initiatives in 2021 and 2022, the city witnessed a significant decrease in the number of acres burned from new fire starts within the Salinas River. Recognizing the efficacy of grazing as a fire prevention strategy, the City of Paso Robles has once again opted for this approach to safeguard the community and its natural surroundings.
This winter, the Salinas River in Paso Robles experienced abnormal weather conditions, with two separate storms causing the river to swell to flood stage levels. As a result, the City’s Emergency Operations Center was activated on both occasions to address the significant impacts experienced throughout the area. These storms also had a transformative effect on the vegetation within the Salinas River corridor, leading to increased growth of light flashy fuels, such as grasses and mustard plants. Once cured by the summer heat, these fuels become receptive fuel beds for fire ignitions, posing an increased risk of fire spread if left untreated.
Working in collaboration with the San Luis Obispo County Community Fire Safe Council, the City of Paso Robles has prioritized debris removal and the restoration of firebreaks in the corridor to pre-storm conditions. With debris removal completed in priority areas, the planned annual grazing of light flashy fuels can now proceed. The city will initially focus on treating the most critical areas for fire protection before gradually expanding its efforts. The grazing activities will commence along North River Road, progress southward, and are expected to be completed on or prior to June 25.
During the grazing period, portions of the walk path between 13th Street and Niblick Road may experience periodic closures to facilitate the progress of the grazing activities. While members of the public are encouraged to visit the area, they are advised to exercise caution around the electric fencing used to contain the animals and refrain from touching it.
The Goat Girls LLC, a renowned grazing service provider, has been selected to administer the grazing operations. The cost of this endeavor is made possible through grant funds provided by The San Luis Obispo County Community Fire Safe Council, underscoring the importance of community collaboration in mitigating wildfire risks.