Why the SFPUC Employs Cows for Fire Prevention

Summer is fire season in the Sunol Valley and the Alameda Creek Watershed. And as fires can blaze across California, and flare up closer to home, the SFPUC is using an unsung cadre of fire prevention specialists on its watershed lands: cows.

As of part the SFPUC’s Fire Prevention Team, cows are deployed near the San Antonio Reservior. The cows’ appetite keeps grasses from growing into a fire hazard.

Cows grazing along the Alameda watershed, San Antonio Reservoir.

Cows have grazed the Alameda Creek Watershed since the mid-1800s. SFPUC Watershed Managers use a twenty-first century approach to this century’s old tool to help minimize fire danger on the 36,000 acres of land that the Agency owns in the Alameda Creek Watershed.

SFPUC rangeland managers apply sustainable and cutting-edge cattle management practices, an the cows’ hungry habits do a great job of keeping the grasses low, which reduces the potential fuel for fires.

When driving through the watershed, the SFPUC cautions drivers to stay on paved areas and away from high grasses that could catch fire from the underside of the car.

The SFPUC employs cows to help keep grasses low, which helps reduce potential fires.