HENLY, Texas — When Keith Miller got the call his nanny goats were in danger of the Smoke Rider Fire, he was more than an hour away.
Miller has owned goats for seven years, joking that he bought his first one – named Maggie – as a gift for his wife.
"The book said that the goats couldn't be by themselves," Miller said. "So one thing led to another, and we bought another one."
He now owns 120 goats that he raises and sells for meat. He's still trying to grow his herd, and his mother goats gave birth to 50 kids this year, which he calls a down year. He expects about 70-80 kids each birthing season.
He keeps his 55 nanny goats at his friend's property a few miles away where they have more space to graze. On Tuesday, the house-sitter for the property called Miller saying the Smoke Rider Fire was baring down on the property and the goats needed saving.
"I really got scared when I got to Oak Hill and I could see the smoke from Oak Hill, so I knew it was big," Miller said.
Miller's son arrived at the property first with a trailer and hauled away the first 30 or so goats. Miller arrived soon after to pick up the rest. The pasture they were grazing burned soon after.
"Shocked. Devastated. I mean, luckily, we still have the houses that are out here, but just seeing this char in the background was pretty, pretty tough," Jared Rossi, one of the sons of the property owner, said on Wednesday.
Rossi grew up on the property with his brother. The fire burned within feet of his childhood home.
"It was a little emotional, but it's done now and the houses are still here, so happy about that," Rossi said.
With the pasture burned, Miller is now looking for a new area with at least 50 acres for his goats to graze. If you have property meeting that criteria or know someone who does, Miller can be reached at 512-461-3851.
As of Wednesday night, the Smoke Rider Fire burned 800 acres, destroying three homes and one trailer, including a unit used as an Airbnb on the Rossi property.
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