Goats and sheep will start grazing firebreaks on Sunday, April 10

PASO ROBLES — Goats and sheep will return to Paso Robles and start grazing the primary firebreaks within the Salinas River on Sunday, April 10. Grazing is an approved method for reducing the risk of wildfires in the City of Paso Robles Vegetation Management Program. The city has chosen grazing to maintain firebreaks because of its effectiveness and low environmental impacts. Following the completed grazing of approximately 80 acres in 2021, the city saw a significant decrease in the number of acres burned within the Salinas River corridor.

It has been yet another year of record low rainfall and unseasonably warm temperatures due to persistent ridges of high pressure off the coast of Northern California. As we progress through the month of April, the light grassy fuels will become fully cured, and we will start to see small fires spread and become difficult to suppress. The storm we received last week brought us a good amount of rain, but it did little to change our level on the drought meter. We remain in the D2/D3 category. La Niña is favored to continue into the Northern Hemisphere summer (53 percent chance during June/August 2022), with a 40 to 50 percent neutral thereafter. This means we are expecting a possibly drier than normal or normal fall rainy season.

Due to the present conditions and predicted early start to fire season in California, the City of Paso Robles has decided to begin grazing one month ahead of schedule this year. This decision is in alignment with CAL FIRE’s decision to transition their staffing levels early, adding engines and upstaffing the Paso Robles Air Attack Base on April 11. The city is focusing on treating the most critical areas for fire protection first, then expanding out where possible. Grazing activities are estimated to be completed on or prior to Friday, May 27.

Portions of the walking path will be closed between 13th Street and Navajo as grazing progresses through the area. Members of the public are encouraged to visit the area but be aware of the electric fencing used to contain the animals. Please do not touch it. Grazing will be administered by The Goat Girls LLC and paid for with grant funds provided by The San Luis Obispo County Community Fire Safe Council.