Warnings of a historically dangerous fire season have prompted the use of thousands of hungry goats to help cut down fuel in Contra Costa County.
Firefighters say the clock is ticking to prepare for the wildland fire season, and the 3,500 goats are busy grazing the grass in the Oakland hills. The above-average rain over the winter helped ensure there's no shortage of growth for them to chew on.
In Contra Costa County, residents and business owners have until mid-June to clear vegetation from around their properties. After that, the county will step in and hire contractors to do the work and send a bill to the homeowners.
The work property owners -- and the goats -- are doing today to create defensible space could be the difference between life and death in a rapidly spreading fire, officials say.
Contra Costa County fire officials say the devastating fires that have hit Northern California the past two years should be all the motivation people need to be sure they're wildfire ready.