(HELENA) The Lewis and Clark County Commission gave final approval Tuesday to expand the York Fire Service Area.
Commissioners voted to transfer responsibility for large areas south and east of the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness to York Fire-Rescue. The areas are currently served by the Lewis and Clark County Volunteer Fire Department.
Leaders say the York fire station is much closer, so firefighters will be able to respond more quickly if there is an emergency in the area. Both departments supported the change, along with most of the landowners in the area.
The annexed area includes several ranches, but few structures. More than half the land is owned by the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
The annexation will take effect in 60 days.