SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — More property owners in coastal Georgia’s largest county will be billed for fire protection after a change by a local fire department.

Chatham Fire Department provides fire protection in unincorporated areas outside Savannah. It will begin sending subscription bills to owners of undeveloped land.

The Savannah Morning News reports subscribers could increase from 27,000 to 32,000. The fire department says those who subscribe should get lower insurance rates.

Chatham Emergency Services CEO Chuck Kearns says 41% of fires the department responds to are brush fires or in open areas.

The department is now using county assessment values to determine a property’s value. Before now, subscribers estimated the value, which Kearns says led to wildly differing bills for similar properties.

Kearns says the county list includes properties not previously billed.

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Information from: Savannah Morning News, http://www.savannahnow.com

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