Managed wildfires, i.e., naturally ignited wildfires that are managed for resource benefits, have the potential to reduce fuel loads, minimize the effects of future wildfires, and restore critical natural processes across many forest landscapes.
We review science-based adaptation strategies for western North American (wNA) forests that include restoring active fire regimes and fostering resilient structure and composition of forested landscapes. As part of the review, we address common questions associated with climate adaptation and realignment treatments that run counter to a broad consensus in the literature.
Expanding the footprint of natural fire has been proposed as one potential solution to increase the pace of forest restoration programs in fire‐adapted landscapes of the western USA. However, studies that examine the long‐term socio‐ecological trade‐offs of expanding natural fire to reduce wildfire risk and create fire resilient landscapes are lacking.