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What’s the difference between a fire “district” and a fire “department”?

Generally, a fire department is part of a city or county government, funded through the town’s, city’s or county’s general fund, with monies derived from sales, property, and other taxes.

A fire district is a “special” district (defined by California Health & Safety Code 13800), usually independent of any town, city or county government, funded by a portion of the ad valorem property tax and a special tax assessment on properties within its district.

Fire districts generally provide service to rural and/or unincorporated areas surrounding a town, city or several cities, although some (like Windsor) provide service within city boundaries as well as to the surrounding unincorporated areas.

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