Fire ecology is discussed in relation to basic ecological processes; the characteristics of the fire environment are reviewed. Lightning and lightning storms are considered as the primary natural cause of fires in nature. The nature of fire and its relationship to plants, animals, and soils are briefly examined. The effects of fire in Alaska are mentioned in relation to its occurrence before and after occupancy by early man, Eskimo, Indian, and the European. Differences in viewpoint between fire management and fire control are discussed. The need for fire management research in Alaska is stressed in relation to the management of forest, wildlife, watershed, recreation, and urban lands.