The need for special assessments to provide forest fire protection within the county shall be determined by the county commission after a public hearing is held thereon. Such hearing shall be held by such body only after a petition signed by a majority of the total number of persons owning forestlands within the county has been presented thereto; provided, that such persons are the owners of more than one half of the forestland situated within the county. The county commission shall give 10 days' notice of the time and place at which they shall meet to determine the need for a program in such county to provide protection against forest fires, the manner of financing a fire protection program, the part of the cost of such program to be assessed against owners of forestland and the manner of assessing the cost of such protection proportionately to each parcel or tract of forestland in the county. The notice of the meeting hereby required shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county and shall also be posted at the courthouse of the county and in every post office within the county. Any person owning forestland in the county may appear in person or by attorney at such time and place and make defense against such assessment or the amount thereof. After such hearing the county governing body shall determine the amount of such assessment and enter on the minutes of the governing body an order fixing such assessment.