I prepared this report following the Wilderness Fire Symposium held in Missoula, Montana, November 15 to 18, 1983, (one month after the First National Wilderness Management Workshop). The fire symposium, which drew a large attendance, was given impetus by a proposed change in Forest Service policy regarding scheduled fire in wilderness. That change was expressed in a Forest Service fact sheet dated September 15, 1983:

The Forest Service is revising its wilderness fire management policy to permit prescribed fires ignited by trained professionals to be used in wilderness areas to meet wilderness resource objectives. Prescribed fires in wilderness would occur on a very limited basis. Each fire would be authorized by the appropriate Regional Forester, and would be ignited only after a team of experts in various fields of resource management determined that lightning-caused fires were too infrequent to meet wilderness resource objectives or that an uncontrolled lightning fire could cause unacceptable damage to highly valued areas outside the wilderness. This revised policy would provide more timely restoration of wilderness characteristics than the current policy of waiting for the work to be totally accomplished by lightning fires—an unpredictable approach at best. It would also provide a means of reducing or minimizing the adverse impacts of wildfire in wilderness and on adjacent lands and resources.