THE Country Fire Authority wants more women and people from a wider variety of ethnic backgrounds to help fight fires.
"Australia is no longer a white, Anglo-Saxon-dominated society and, as an organisation, we have to change, too," CFA operational training and volunteerism executive director Lex de Man said.
"Unless we do, and recruit people from a wider range of backgrounds, we won't be here."
Mr de Man said the CFA was trying to connect with growing communities, particularly on Melbourne's outer fringe, which had high numbers of different nationalities.
"Many people we're working with in these communities do not come from a volunteering background - Australia has quite a story of volunteerism - and they also often associate anyone in uniform as being part of the military," he said.
Mr de Man said the CFA also needed more women. It has 44,106 male and 11,022 female volunteers.
Meanwhile, a review of CFA minimum skills training is under way, with feedback from CFA members being reviewed.
A new strategy will be announced next year.