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The much-anticipated consolidation of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire) and the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District is finally official.

The merger brings 128,000 residents of East Contra Costa under the purview of the larger district and is expected to improve and streamline service. The district now serves 753,000 county residents.

A ceremony this past Friday morning at Brentwood City Park to mark the transfer of command was attended by department leaders, elected officials and residents and featured static displays of some of Con Fire’s specialized equipment and crews.

“Today marks our arrival at the finish line of a pursuit for improved fire and emergency services that has been years in the making,” Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Chief Lewis Broschard said in a statement. “As of today, Con Fire, consisting of the people, facilities and resources of East Contra Costa Fire and all of our own resources, has begun delivering on the long-awaited promise of enhanced services across our newly expanded jurisdiction.”

Visitors tour fire trucks and other firefighting equipment during an event at City park in Brentwood on Friday, July 1, 2022, to mark the combination of two fire protection districts into one known as Con Fire. (Photo courtesy of Contra Costa County Fire Protection District/Facebook)

Con Fire now includes the entirety of the former ECCFPD service area, expanding geographically from 304 to 553 square miles, a 45 percent increase.

District officials say the merger will improve fire and emergency medical services, including additional crews and newly opened stations, which will serve to reduce response times. For the first time, residents of East County communities are now served by fire crews delivering advanced life support capabilities.

New Fire Station 95, staffed by Con Fire, opened in Oakley on June 1, a month ahead of its annexation. Before summer is over, the district plans to reopen recession-shuttered Fire Station 4 in Walnut Creek and the new replacement Fire Station 86 in Bay Point. Planning for construction of two additional fire stations in the city of Brentwood is currently underway, with completion date estimates some time in 2024.