Fire Chief Mark Arnold said the department has not increased its dues in about seven or eight years. The rate still is the lowest in the area, he said.
Paying the annual membership dues could save homeowners several hundred dollars on a fire call, Arnold said.
Members do not pay for fire calls.
Residents within the district who do not pay the fee, however, and need firefighters to respond, will pay a minimum of $100 for the call, plus an hourly rate for equipment and firefighters. Most calls average $350-$500.
"We'll provide protection whether they are a member or not," Arnold said. "We're just trying to encourage people to pay now."
The all-volunteer department has 17 firefighters who cover an area of roughly 100 square miles. The department averages 40 calls a year, including everything from vehicle crashes to brush fires and structure fires and mutual aid to other departments.
In August 2009, the department responded to four fire calls in one day during a particularly hot, dry, windy spell, Arnold said.
The department's territory stretches from the county line to the south to behind Grand Gulf State Park, north to Koshkonong and east toward Couch. About 450-475 properties are in the department's coverage area.
Thayer Rural Fire Department membership applications are available at Thayer Police Department and City Hall.