Sheep are the new heroes in the fight against bushfires, thanks to an initiative by the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale.
The shire’s Emergency Services team has launched a project that uses sheep to graze on grasses and shrubs that could fuel fires.
The project has proven to be effective, eco-friendly, and cost-efficient.
The sheep-based fire mitigation strategy has been applied to blocks in Mundijong, Serpentine, and Jarrahdale, and there are plans to expand it to more areas.
The project has also received funding from the Mitigation Activity Fund (MAF) to install fencing in the Jarrahdale area to enable the sheep to graze safely and effectively.
The idea of using sheep for fire mitigation was first suggested by the Shire’s Bushfire Mitigation Officer in January 2020.
The project was officially implemented in October 2021 and has shown remarkable results since then.
By using 21 sheep across nine hectares, the project has managed to keep the fuel loads below eight tonnes per hectare, which is the critical level for reducing fire intensity and severity.
The project has been cost effective as well as environmentally friendly as it has reduced the need for slashing to clear the vegetation.
The Shire has also taken care of the water needs of the sheep, by acquiring a water tank that can also be used for firefighting purposes.
The tank provides a reliable water source for both the sheep and the fire crews.
The initiative has received positive feedback from the community and has demonstrated the potential of using sheep as a natural and sustainable way of managing fire risk.
The Shire’s Emergency Services team is committed to expanding and improving this innovative approach in the future.