After nearly a century of avid fire suppression, land managers are substantially increasing prescribed burning to meet ecosystem management objectives. As scientists and managers we need to accurately quantify the capacity of airsheds to assimilate smoke and related atmospheric pollutants from wildfire and prescribed fire within acceptable limits for air quality. Conversely, we need to quantify increases in ecosystem health that result from prescribed fire, as well as the ecological cost of fire suppression. Resolutions for prescribed burning programs to protect both soil, water and air quality and foster healthy ecosystems are presented. This includes a discussion of revised models and current efforts to quantify how prescribed fire can be used to offset wildfire emissions.