Hundreds of Goats Recruited to Eat Brush by a California Fire Department

KABC(SIMI VALLEY, Calif.) — A fire department in southern California is fighting wildfires with wild animals — over 450 goats, to be specific.

The Ventura County Fire Department set hundreds of goats free in the county's Simi Valley hillside on Wednesday in the hopes they will eat up acres of dry brush, which is potential fuel for wildfires, according to ABC station KABC-TV in Los Angeles.

Though the average amount of rainfall in Ventura County should be 15 inches per year, the county only received 8 inches of rain last year and only 6 inches so far this year, KABC reported.

"We still have this dead, decadent brush as a result of the years of drought," Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said at a news conference. Fire officials emphasized that even on a cool day, the dry brush that is prolific in the County could easily burn.

Fire officials said the goats will be released for the next four to six weeks, in hopes they eliminate danger spots by eating the dry grasses down to the dirt.

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California anticipates much-needed rain this week after catastrophic wildfires

California anticipates much-needed rain this week after catastrophic wildfiresGoogle Earth(NEW YORK) -- Ravaged by a slew of deadly wildfires in recent days, northern California is set to get a bit of relief this week in the form of rain.

A storm system is expected to move over the Pacific Northwest later this week and the trailing cold front will most likely bring some much-needed rain to northern California between Thursday and Friday, according to ABC meteorologists.

"It will rain a bit but not enough to fully douse the blazes," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark said in a statement Tuesday. "The biggest advantage to firefighters will be the increase in humidity and lower temperatures."

Massive wildfires have charred more than 245,000 acres of land statewide in the past week, killing at least 41 people and destroying thousands of homes, according to authorities.

Firefighters were battling about a dozen wildfires as of late Tuesday evening, although most of them were more than halfway contained.

“The weather today will be warm with low humidity, which will continue to challenge firefighters, but only light winds are forecast,” CalFire said in a statement on Tuesday. “A chance of precipitation is expected to arrive later in the week, bringing relief from the dry conditions.”

The northern parts of the Golden State, which has bared the brunt of the fire damage, is forecast to see an influx of cloudy, cooler and wetter weather later in the week, according to AccuWeather.

Spotter from Los Osos was reporting sprinkles from this high level moisture. Dry at lower levels. Rain evaporates. Also called "Virga" #cawx pic.twitter.com/sgxj3bdXZQ

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) October 18, 2017

However, a return of dry air, heat and areas of gusty winds could once again raise the wildfire danger early next week, meteorologists said.

Separately, a band of moisture, referred to as Atmospheric River by weather experts, is currently stretching between Asia and North America. It’s expected to bring several storm systems into many parts of the Pacific Northwest through the rest of the week.

The first of these storms have already hit the Pacific Northwest with wind gusts of between 40 and 74 mph.

A number of wind warnings and flood watches are in effect in the western and northern parts of the U.S. ahead of the storm.

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