The exclusion of fire from ecosystems to which it was a frequent visitor has produced profound alterations in historic ecological conditions; therefore, fire must be an integral component of ecosystem management. That was the overwhelming message conveyed by speakers at the symposium, Fire for Restoration of Communities and Ecosystems. Speakers from land management agencies and academia addressed both the conceptual and practical bases for using prescribed fire to restore degraded or highly altered forest-dominated ecosystems. The ecological as well as the social and political complexity of using fire to achieve ecosystem objectives permeated the discussions by all speakers. Overall, their tone was optimistic regarding the future use of this tool of conservation biology.