Often missing or underdeveloped in wildland fire research is a clear sense of the link between contemporaneous political possibility and the desired ecological or management outcomes. This study examines the disconnect between desired outcomes and what we call the “politically possible”. Politically possible policy solutions are those that recognize how compromise, stakeholder engagement, and the distribution of costs and benefits combine to structure political acceptability. Better attending to the politically possible in wildland fire-related research can, in turn, inform our understanding of the cause, effect, and the potential solutions to fire management challenges. A lack of awareness and attention to the politically possible can create divisions or barriers to realistic action.