Grazing cattle are the best tool to fight wildfires, according to ranching community
The western wildfires of 2021 set records in terms of acreage burned and poor air quality. The big heat wave and abnormally dry conditions added fuel to the flames.
The ranching community says that the best tool in fighting those fires is not a helicopter or a shovel. It is a herd.
A herd of grazing cattle can remove the fine fuels that allow fires to grow at a breakneck pace.
“My understanding on this year’s fires, they had some of those areas that had a fuel load of 2,000 tons per acre. And, thinking that you can do anything with a fire once it gets into a fuel load, there’s nothing that can be done other than stand back and watch it create its own weather,” President of the Idaho Cattle Association, Mark Pratt states.
Pratt says that between what cows eat and step on, they are very efficient at reducing those dangerous fuel loads.
He adds that over the last 20 years, the cattle industry has learned the role it plays in carbon sequestration and helping keep the environment clean.
“We have a better understanding of our role with carbon sequestration. It is a big buzzword today, and so is sustainability,” he explains. “We play a part in this in keeping the who ecosystem healthy along with the wildlife that is there alongside us.”
He says that the cattle industry is ready to work with local, state, and federal agencies to keep the forest clean, not only to lower the risk of massive wildfires but to maintain the great outdoors people love to enjoy.