A team of 40 goats have been deployed across NSW to help firefighters prepare for the incoming bushfire season.
The Rural Fire Service is looking to see whether the goats' grazing can make a difference to the fire season by controlling vegetation as part of the ongoing hazard reduction efforts.
The four-legged firefighters have been leased from local farmers and have this week begun grazing around fire-prone areas near Mudgee in the central west.
The goats are expected to help reduce the fuel load in the key high-risk areas, including Clandulla and Lue, with similar hazard reduction grazing trials being undertaken in Werris Creek and across the Far South Coast.
Another group of goats will also be spread out across Tamworth in the state's north east and Bega in the south east. If these trials prove successful, the program will be launched statewide in the coming months.
The idea to introduce controlled grazing came as a response to the state government's bushfire inquiry following the devastating 2019-2020 'Black Summer' season.
"The NSW RFS is continuing to explore a range of other hazard reduction techniques to better understand the effectiveness of different practices in various circumstances, this includes grazing," NSW RFS Inspector Troy Gersback said.
"These goats provide an alternative to burning which is heavily reliant on favourable weather. The four-legged firefighting crews will be reducing the fuel loads rain, hail or shine."