I envision a future where our collective understanding of fires and forest ecology is improved. The media tends to portray forest fires in a negative light through the dispersal of fear-inducing images: cars trying to escape a forest burning all around them; people covering their mouths to avoid inhaling plumes of smoke; and communities evacuating their towns to avoid being killed. While these impacts of fires are very much real, the portrayal of purely negative information about fires is exacerbating the problem. I value a world where hope trumps fear since fear usually leads ineffective actions.
Fire management today largely uses the suppression of fires as a way to deal with fires, but this doesn't work. By putting off our need to deal with the problem through "fighting" fires, we are increasing the chances for even more devastating and less controllable fires to ravage the ecosystems and communities we love.
To break the cycle of fire suppression and increased potential for worse fires, we need to be more accepting of the fact that fires are a necessary process for forests to thrive. Two action items are needed: (1) we need to educate others about the importance of fires; and (2) we need to governments to allocate more resources to forest management that includes controlled burns and the collection of excess deadfall.