For millennia wildfires have occurred as a part of the natural cycle of life and death on planet earth. Humans and other animals do their best to escape and survive the fires and plant life has adapted to resist, and in some cases take advantage of, intermittent burning.
Effective means for preventing fires from burning down buildings and other infrastructure is an essential part of a sustainable human society. Preventing fires in wilderness areas protects nearby human communities as well as conserving natural resources and protecting wildlife and natural ecosystems.
Forested areas that have been protected from naturally occurring fires on an ongoing basis become increasingly vulnerable to extreme wildfires because flammable material accumulates from year to year. When these large quantities of accumulated flammable material do light on fire the situation is much more dangerous and harder to control than if flammable material is burned periodically.
Strategies of controlled burning, or removing burnable material such as brush and dead wood, have been used to reduce the risk presented by wildfire prevention. These approaches normally represent a destructive impingement on a forest ecosystem.
Collecting dead wood and flammable material by hand for composting or fuel can be a low impact way of mitigating wildfire risk.