19 de septiembre de 2019
Hispanic World

California calls on goats to prevent wildfires

By Marc Arcas

By Marc Arcas

San Anselmo, California, May 24 (efe-epa).- For centuries, goats have been the best allies of humanity in preventing wildfires, and now California is counting on them to help ward off the enormous, destructive blazes that every summer seem to get worse.

After the devastating Tubbs Fire that in 2017 took 22 lives and laid waste to a large part of the wine-growing regions of Napa and Sonoma, their neighbors in Marin County north of San Francisco decided to get to the root of the problem so nothing like that would ever happen near where they lived, which is when they brought in the goats.

Since then, 1,200 goats have fed every springtime on the steep mountainsides of Marin County with a very clear mission - to create a 200-hectare (490-acre) firebreak some 20km (12mi) long.

"We call them four-legged firefighters, we really do. They are contributing greatly to the safety of the community, they are contributing to reducing climate change over time. They are extremely popular here in the community," Todd Lando, a retired firefighter and executive coordinator of FIRESafe MARIN, told EFE.

Though this is an ancient method that is still practiced in many parts of the world, such as the Mediterranean, Africa and Latin America, the grazing of goats to "clean" woodlands of weeds and prevent fires has scarcely ever occurred in the United States, so Marin County has to bring in goatherds from abroad.

Lando said they had analyzed alternatives for creating a large firebreak free of combustible vegetation in a way that would be effective and not prohibitively expensive.

The transport and maintenance of more than 1,000 head of livestock in a mostly residential area is no easy task and required the cooperation of multiple entities including the Fire Department, ranches, a private school and filmmaker George Lucas, who has an estate here.

Lando also noted the benefits goats bring to the environment and for meeting the objectives California has set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, for in case these animals are not used, motorized machinery would be required to do the same job.

"They are quiet, they're very easy on the land. And what we find is, the following year the areas that have been grazed grow back even more beautifully, with more wildflowers and greener lush vegetation than what we saw before. So, they really have an aesthetic benefit to the community and a safety benefit," he said.

FIRESafe MARIN uses computer-devised models to determine where fires are most likely to start, which way the flames are likely to spread once they break out, and which human communities will be affected, information that is used to decide where to send the goats to clear the land.

Histórico de noticias
Jason Moran and his ode to jazz arrive at New York's Whitney Museum

New York, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- Jason Moran, considered to be one of the most innovative jazz musicians in the United States, has created an ode to that...

Greta Thunberg, activists urge Congress to act on climate change

Washington, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- Sixteen-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, along with a group of indigenous leaders, on Tuesday demanded...

Nicaragua zoo welcomes scarlet macaw born in captivity

Managua, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- Nicaragua's National Zoo has welcomed a baby scarlet macaw, a species in danger of extinction, born in captivity at the zoo for...

Baseball legend Mariano Rivera receives Medal of Freedom from Trump

Washington, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- Panama-born baseball legend Mariano Rivera, the former New York Yankees pitcher, on Monday received the Presidential Medal of...

New York hairdressers look after Latino community's mental health

By Ruth E. Hernandez Beltran

Purdue Pharma files for bankruptcy as per settlement

New York, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- Pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the highly addictive opioid OxyContin, has filed for bankruptcy in the...

Vaping: Roulette of chemical ingredients that can cause cancer

Washington, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- Electronic cigarettes contain a chemical flavoring compound that can cause cancer and that has been prohibited as an additive...

Hurricane Humberto intensifies, threatens US coast with strong waves

Miami, Sep 16 (EFE).- Hurricane Humberto continues intensifying in the Atlantic on Monday and threatens to pound the southeast coast of the United States...

Honduran president asks CentAm to work together to overcome common enemies

Tegucigalpa, Sep 15 (efe-epa).- Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on Sunday urged Central Americans to unite to face "common enemies," including...

Venezuelans in forefront of new delivery operations in Ecuador

By Daniela Brik

Maradona makes stumbling debut as Gimnasia coach

Buenos Aires, Sep 14 (efe-epa).- Diego Maradona had a bitter first outing as the new coach for Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, falling to Racing Club 2-1...

Argentina's gov't to present new budget amid economic woes

Buenos Aires, Sep 15 (EFE).- Finance Minister Hernan Lacunza will present the proposed 2020 budget to the Argentine Congress this week, a budget that will...

UN proposes better education, security to protect religious sites

By Mario Villar

Bolivian indigenous people try to recover in aftermath of Amazon fires

By Gabriel Romano

Celebrities turn out to help Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian

San Juan, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- Almost half of the 2,500 people listed as missing after Hurricane Dorian devastated the northwestern Bahamas have been tracked...

Migrant advocate says Mexican gov't hindered by political realities

By Juan Manuel Ramirez G.

Bahamas officials estimate 2,500 missing after Hurricane Dorian

San Juan, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- Bahamas emergency authorities estimate that some 2,500 people are missing after the devastating passage of Hurricane Dorian...

Trump doesn't rule out easing Iran sanctions to pave way for Rouhani summit

Washington, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Wednesday did not rule out relaxing US sanctions on Iran in the coming weeks, amid rumors that he...

Mexico's gov't pumps $5 bn in capital into Pemex

Mexico City, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- The federal government said Wednesday that it was pumping $5 billion in capital into Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), bolstering...

Trump rips Fed, urges rate cuts and zero interest rates

Washington, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump renewed his attacks on Federal Reserve policy makers on Wednesday, calling them "Boneheads" and urging...

Trump threatens Taliban on anniversary of 9/11

Washington, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Wednesday - the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks - promised to escalate combat...

Apple opts for classic look with new iPhones, focuses on camera improvements

By Marc Arcas

TV series "Monarca" shows Mexico that doesn't ride burros or wear sombreros

Mexico City, Sep 10 (efe-epa).- The television series "Monarca," which will air on Netflix on Sept. 13, depicts a Mexico that is "current, that doesn't ride...

Tenharim tribe, the guardians of the Amazon, battling against wildfires

By Fernando Bizerra