Forest Service Use Sheep to Reduce Fire Hazard

Release Date: Apr 12, 2011   Carson City

Contact(s): Steve Howell

Carson City, Nevada…Starting April 11, sheep will be grazing on over 1,000 acres of Forest Service, state, and Carson City open space lands to remove the cheat grass and other non-native vegetation that have sprouted since the 2004 Waterfall Fire.

This program is part of the Carson Ranger District Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project. The sheep will help to create a fuel break along the homes of residents who live next to the National Forest.

"This is a cost effective way to manage the non-native vegetation, where chemical treatment and prescribed burning are not possible," said Steve Howell, district fuels specialist.

Cheat grass is native to Eurasia. In North America it has no biological predators, which allows it to grow, uncontrolled, potentially altering the ecosystem and affecting the frequency of wildfires in the area.

Approximately 800 ewes and lambs from Borda Land & Sheep Company, out of Gardnerville, Nevada, will graze on Forest Service land throughout the grass’ growing season, until it turns purple and becomes unpalatable for the sheep.

The sheep will be monitored by two herders and their dogs. Water for the sheep will be provided by the Nevada Division of Forestry. Visitors in the area are asked to keep their dogs on a leash.

For more information on this release, contact Steve Howell, fuels specialist at 775 884-8114.