(KRON) — The Oakland Fire Department are set to deploy a herd of about 1,200 goats to chomp down fields of dangerous vegetation ahead of fire season. The goats have been deployed annually since 1994 as a sustainable fire prevention method.

Each year, OFD deploys thousands of goats to eat away at hard-to-reach flammable plants from the Oakland hillsides. This year’s herd is set to arrive on May 16, according to Oakland Fire Department officials.

The goats were first brought in just three years after the devastating 1991 Oakland Hills fire, which killed 25 people and destroyed thousands of homes. Historically, the fire department has been reported to spend about $500,000 to truck in the goats each year.

This year’s fire season prep is crucial especially after an unseasonably wet winter that officials say could cause a longer and more destructive fire season due to all the early-blooming foliage that will eventually dry out.