Hundreds of sheep used to help prevent fires in south Reno

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RENO, NV (KOLO) It’s unclear if Smokey the Bear ever thought of this strategy to prevent forest fires.

“Our goal is to reduce the fine fuels and cheat grass with an emphasis on cheatgrass,” says Ted Borda of Borda Land and Sheep.

Borda spent the day bringing truckloads of sheep to an area off Timberline Drive in south Reno, where they will spend the next 70 days eating away at potential fire fuels. It’s a strategy that has paid off in the past.

“If you talk to people in Carson City, they swear by it,” Borda insisted. “There have been fires that have burned right up to where the sheep have grazed and then they have stopped.”

Part of the reason for using sheep is they eat plants down to the roots, something cattle don’t always do.

A shepherd is on hand to monitor the sheep, and his job will get tougher as the week goes on. As of Tuesday afternoon there were 250 sheep on hand, but Borda says that number will grow to 770 by the end of the week.

Barda says the sheep will eat 2500 pounds of fuel during their stay.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019