In their classic article Allen and Gould (Allen, G.M., and E.M. Gould. 1986. Complexity, wickedness, and public forests. J. For. 84(4):20 -24) stated that the most daunting problems associated with public forest management had a ''wicked'' element: ''Wicked problems share characteristics. Each can be considered as simply a symptom of some higher order problem.... The definition is in the mind of the beholder.... Furthermore, there is no single correct formulation for a wicked problem, only more or less useful ones'' (p. 22). This description seems to fit the difficulties associated with managing the increasing risk of wildland fire in the United States. Using the Inland Northwest region of the United States as an example, we explore the dynamics of this issue as they relate to possible improvements and the inherent dilemmas. We conclude that any ''solutions'' to the problems associated with fire danger are best thought of in terms of long-term system improvements rather than short-term fixes. © 2007 by the Society of American Foresters. Abstract reproduced by permission.