The livestock belong to Star Creek Land Stewards. The Los Banos-based company was hired by a local homeowner to clear the brush surrounding the home in an effort to help combat wild fire spread. But, because this year is particularly dry, the project will be completed sooner than anticipated.
"It's not as thick and dense on the ground as it has been in years past. So there's more sparse areas. So our animals are moving through the same acreage...much faster this year," explains Andreé Soares, the company's owner.
CALIFORNIA DREAMING: As wildfires worsen, these homeowners are determined to remain
California set a new grim record for wildfires in 2020, over 4 million acres burned according to CAL FIRE. Across the state, many property owners are doing what they can to avoid another record-setting year.
Ruby, Silvio's 2-year-old black and white border collie who lives with him in the company-provided trailer he brings to each site, bounces in the tall grass after him as he hammers fence posts into the mountainsides.
Herders have to make sure to maintain a proper grazing balance that keeps the ground healthy according to Soares' daughter and project manager Bianca Soares.
VIDEO: East Bay nonprofit on a mission to save livestock from wildfires
"Part of the guys' job is also to assess. Normally I'd be in this paddock for two to three days. But this year, because the feed so thin, I think we're going to move out in one day, we don't want any overgrazing to happen because over grazing could both be dangerous or not as healthy for the soil."
In a few weeks, Silvio will leave for Peru to see his family for the first time in three years. He is on an H2A visa, which allows him to work in the U.S. temporarily as a herder.
"We could not do our job without our herders," says Soares. "They are provided food, housing, and telephones and all their tools they need to do their job. But they are imperative to the work that's done on the ground."
RELATED: Contra Costa Co. fire officials urge residents to pack evacuation kits
Company owner Soares says business has picked up in the last few years as more and more people are looking to mitigate damage from wildfires. The upswing in demand not only helps avert disasters but has also helped Silvio's family back in Peru.
"You couldn't even buy a small plot of land in town. But thank God I was able to come here and now own a parcel of land."
Silvio says he wants to keep coming back to work so his children can stay in Peru. He doesn't want them to have to leave to support their own families.
For a better experience, click here to view the full map in a new window
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- Map shows riskiest areas in California for damaging wildfires
- How bad will CA's fire season be? Here's what we know, what we don't
- How to prepare for a wildfire evacuation
- How to prepare your pets in case of disaster
- How to make a pet carrier in case of emergency
- Most destructive California wildfires in history
- The deadliest wildfires in California history
- Live: Track Bay Area air quality levels
- How are wildfires started? A look at the causes of some of the worst in California history
- The difference between containing and controlling a wildfire
- What's in wildfire smoke? How it can impact your health
- What are the diablo winds and how can they influence Northern California wildfires?
- What you need to know about Santa Ana winds and California wildfires
- Safety tips to remember when returning home after wildfire
- How to pick a mask for protection during a wildfire
- Red flag warning: What to do during dangerous fire conditions
- Everything to know about red flame retardant dropped during wildfires
- What happens to animals during wildfires?
- How to drive safely during a power outage
- How wildfires create a serious threat for flooding and mudflows
- These aircraft are on the front lines of the fight against California wildfires