Ecosystem conditions on Federal public lands have changed, particularly within the last 30 years. Wildfires in the west have increased to levels close to or above those estimated for historical conditions, despite increasing efforts and expertise in fire prevention and suppression capability. To reverse these trends, planning for fire and land management policies, budgets, and restoration must address multiple decision levels (national, regional, local, and project) and incorporate an improved understanding of conditions and their linkage across these scales. Three fundamental issues are identified and discussed that relate to traditional types of planning and the associated lack of achievement of multi-scale integrated resource and fire objectives. Various examples of planning that address these three fundamental issues at different scales are compared to traditional types of planning. Outcomes predicted for an example national scale landscape dynamics model are used to illustrate the differences between three different multi-scale management scenarios.