Sheep to be released near Reno for fire management

Borda Ranch sheep graze near Carson City to reduce fire fuels.
Borda Ranch sheep graze near Carson City to reduce fire fuels.
Published: May. 12, 2023 at 12:05 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The USDA will be releasing sheep near the Arrowcreek community of Reno for fire fuel management.

The sheep will be released on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest’s Carson Ranger District starting May 15. A similar fire fuel reduction strategy was used in Carson City in April.

They will eat cheatgrass and other non-native species of vegetation within the Thomas Creek and Whites Creek watersheds north of Timberline Road. Cheatgrass will also create a fuel bed for wildfire spread and can be a threat to communities.

The Borda Land and Sheep Company from Gardnerville will conduct the project. Around 800 ewes will be released and monitored by herders and livestock guard dogs.

“This program is an important collaboration to improve forest resiliency around Arrowcreek and surrounding communities and advances the efforts towards reducing wildfire risk to communities as highlighted in the USDA Forest Service Wildfire Crisis Strategy,” said Carson District Ranger Matt Zumstein. “Grazing sheep is a cost-effective, low-impact, and natural way to efficiently reduce the spread of this invasive species.”

Carson Ranger District Fuels Specialist Steve Howell is also urging residents to keep an eye on their dogs if they are going to be in that area during the grazing period, as off-leash dogs can harass and hurt sheep.

“It is vital to keep all dogs leashed while hiking through the area where sheep are grazing,” said Howell. “No matter how well trained a dog is, their instinct to chase could put them and the sheep in danger.”