The focus of the paper is on fire as an element affecting the conservation of biodiversity and maintaining sustainable resources and ecosystem services for people. Thusly, emphasis is placed on the management of fire at places identified for their conservation value. Effective fire management requires an integration of bottom-up approaches-involving local ecology and fire science, decisions and actions by on-the-ground managers, and the activities, needs and perceptions of rural people living in conservation areas and their environs-with top-down approaches that provide supporting policies, laws, educational programs, training, resources and emergency response. The audience of this paper is conservation scientists, conservation practitioners, land managers and decision-makers working with governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGO's), private lands and communities who have an interest in the conservation of natural resources and in providing sustainable livelihoods for people. The meaning of Integrated Fire Management in this paper is the integration of science and society with fire management technologies at multiple levels. It implies a holistic or seamlessly-woven comprehensive approach to address fire issues that considers biological, environmental, cultural, social, economic and political interactions (Kaufmann et al. 2003). The concepts can be applied to all regions of the world irrespective of development status. The goals of this paper are to (1) succinctly define the role of fire in ecosystems, (2) discuss how too much, too little, or the wrong kind of fire can be a threat to biodiversity, (3) define the concept of fire regime and the role of fire regimes in maintaining ecosystems, (4) illustrate the need of many rural communities to use fire and how some of the current approaches to fire prevention are out of step with those needs, (5) define Integrated Fire Management, and (6) present a process for integrated and collaborative approaches to dealing with fire issues.