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Goats save Reagan library from forest fires in California

Last spring, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California, decided to prepare for the possibility of forest fires by removing flammable brushes around the perimeter. Instead of pouring it into herbicide or burning it away with controlled fire, they've just brought in 500 very hungry goats.

According to Smithsonian.com, Vincent Van Goat, Selena Goatmez and other aptly named ungulates are part of a 805 Goats service, a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly method of clearing land for herds of goats to eat any plant in sight.

The facility, which is now surrounded by barren land, saw several months pass without a fire ̵

1; until last Wednesday, when library curator Randle Swan arrived on the grounds and discovered California's Easy Fire nearby. Later, he told NBC Los Angeles that they had actually scheduled an emergency exercise for that day.

CNN reports that although the Simi Valley police ordered evacuations, some security forces, the library director, the facility manager, and the senior curator were still present to secure artifacts against the approaching fire. In addition to notes of Reagan's political career, the library contains Nancy Reagan's wedding ring, clothes, and many other personal belongings. The graves of both Reagans are also on the grounds.

Fire trucks and trucks constantly watered the area to ward off creeping flames.

"It's a pretty tough situation here, there have never been any fires near this library," said the library's managing director, John Heubusch, to KTLA. "It's a place of national treasure, and the flames lick directly against it."

Both the parking lot and the heroic efforts of the firefighters undoubtedly prevented the forest fires from reaching the library and the museum, but the former goat company definitely did not go unnoticed.

"One of the firefighters mentioned that they believe the goat fire line has helped them fight this fire," said library spokeswoman Melissa Giller to CNN. "They have just proven today how useful they really are." [h/t Smithsonian]

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