A paradigm shift from fire suppression to fire suppression and prescription requires a shift in emphasis from simply controlling wildfire occurrence and spread to one that includes controlling characteristics of prescribed fire. Suppression focuses on preventing unwanted effects that might result from wildfire occurrence. Prescription promotes desired effects by precisely and properly implementing fire occurrence. The duality of these concepts requires a new research focus. Research must now determine how to control processes that constitute a specific fire event. Each fire event includes specific kinds of fire behavior and simultaneously activated ecosystem processes. Control of a fire event, to the degree needed to reach specific prescribed fire objectives, is complicated. It requires an understanding of many aspects of fire behavior and the complex processes that might be activated by the fire. It also requires knowledge of preconditioning factors that control both the nature of fire behavior and the response of a site to a particular fire event. Needed research is both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary. It requires contributions from a wide range of backgrounds, including plant physiology, ecology, fire physics, and others. This new research focus will promote a broad array of investigations which address various levels of detail, and will advance the science of prescribed fire. © 1998, Tall Timbers Research, Inc. Abstract reproduced by permission.