Since 1972, prescribed natural fire plans have been developed and implemented for several of the larger wildernesses in the country like the Frank Church-River of No Return, Teton, Selway-Bitterroot, Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, Absaroka-Beartooth, Gila, and Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The large size of these wildernesses successfully accommodates long duration prescribed natural fires under most conditions. But over 70 percent of the wildernesses in many parts of the west are less than 100,000 acrea in size, areas too small to successfully contain long duration, free-burning fires. The management option in these smaller wildernesses, most of them fire-adapted, has been one of fire exclusion through suppression actions. The development of plans for manager-ignited prescribed fires in the smaller wildernesses is one way to ensure that this significant disturbance process once again contributes to the wildness of fire-dependent ecosystems in wilderness.