Portugal has inaugurated a pet project involving the introduction of hundreds of goats that feed on underbrush in order to combat wildfires that have ravaged the nation and killed hundreds of people in recent years. The New York Times reports that depopulation in remote areas in recent years coupled with increasingly hotter European summers has led to rampant growth of thick bushes and weeds that have fed destructive and deadly wildfires. Reintroducing goats to the area through government subsidies that entice shepherds to relocate has been applauded by environmentalists. “I think we finally understood that we cannot just fight fires but must also prevent them,” Paulo Dias, a forestry engineer who heads the project told the Times. So far more than 10,000 goats have been introduced to cover about 7,000 acres of fire-prone land.
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