The conflict between regulations developed to meet the public's desire for clean air and good visibility versus the ecological need for using prescribed fire as a land management tool presents a continuing challenge that needs to be addressed in the regulatory arena. In many states prescribed fire is a large, intermittent source of particulates that can have a significant short-term impact on fine particulate concentrations and visibility. In some areas of the country the ecological need for the use of prescribed fire is increasing as fuel loadings increase, unnatural successional changes continue, and research clarifies the role of fire in natural ecosystems. At the same time research has demonstrated that existing national ambient air quality standards may not be stringent enough to adequately protect human health and may need to be lowered. Visibility programs and regulations are currently being developed at the national and state level that may focus on controlling fine particulates in the size range emitted from prescribed fire. As regulations are being developed to address air quality concerns, there are a number of fire-related issues that need to be addressed such as the tradeoffs between prescribed fire and wildfire. This paper discusses regulatory options to provide for the continued use of prescribed fire as a land management tool given the development of new air quality standards designed to control fine particulates and new programs designed to protect and enhance visibility.