Prescribed fire in North American forests and woodlands: history, current practice, and challenges

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This review summarizes fire use in the forests and woodlands of North America and the current state of the practice, and explores challenges associated with the use of prescribed fire. Although new scientific knowledge has reduced barriers to prescribed burning, societal aversion to risk often trumps known, long-term ecological benefits. Broader implementation of prescribed burning and strategic management of wildfires in fire-dependent ecosystems will require improved integration of science, policy, and management, and greater societal acceptance through education and public involvement in land-management issues.