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'Darn Smart' Idea Helped Save Reagan Library

Goats ate vegetation around library, fending off flames
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2019 6:31 AM CDT
A banner hangs at the entrance to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library as a helicopter flies over the burned hills on Wednesday.   (Dean Musgrove/The Orange County Register/SCNG via AP)
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(Newser) – As a new wildfire started up in California's hillsides this week, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library became a target—and officials are now patting themselves on the back for a "darn smart" idea that may have helped save it. CNN reports that the Easy Fire kicked up on Wednesday morning near Simi Valley, with the Ventura County Fire Department noting it burned through 1,300 acres in less than 24 hours. Firefighters and aircraft personnel took aim at the flames approaching the library, but a library spokeswoman tells USA Today one more factor apparently worked to the library's advantage: a herd of hundreds of goats, which the fire department recruits each May to chow down on the vegetation around the facility's perimeter, effectively creating a firebreak. "Vincent Van Goat" and "Selena Goatmez" were among the stars who helped make the save, per Reuters.

"It was darn smart for us to do that," a library official crowed about the annual goat-led initiative at the site, which hosts the graves of Ronald and Nancy Reagan in addition to documents, photos, film, audiotapes, and Reagan's Air Force One plane. In other animal-related news, a CBS News crew covering the Easy Fire captured a rather amazing sight, per Forbes: that of a horse seeming to head back into the fire to help shepherd other horses away from it. A video of the happening went viral on Twitter, and one commenter explains what may have spurred the horse's reaction: "Horse vet here: horses seek their herd mates when frightened. This is why a lone horse will run back into a burning barn. Only the most alpha stallion or mare will take point when in danger. Horses live by the code: stronger together." (Read more California wildfires stories.)

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