Every year, wildland fires affect much more acreage in the United States compared to controlled burns. Like controlled burns, wildland fire can help promote biological diversity and healthy ecosystems, but despite these facts, wildland fire is not often considered as a fuel treatment in the United States. Wildland fire is part of a self-regulating cycle that temporarily reduces landscape-level vegetation and fuel, a natural process that can reduce the size, spread, severity and even the occurrence of future fires. Wildland fires can reduce live and dead vegetation, while the ashes that remain can release nutrients that have been locked in older vegetation, which benefits surviving or regenerating trees and other vegetation. Wildland fires can also improve forest health by reducing the density of trees, which reduces competition for necessary resources such as light and water. Forest Service scientists have evaluated more than 40 years of satellite imagery to determine what happens when a fire burns into a previously burned area. Results from this research are helping land managers to assess whether a previous wildland fire will act as a fuel treatment based on the length of time since the previous fire occurred, along with local conditions such as ecosystem type, topography and fire weather conditions. By factoring in the ecological benefits of fire, land managers are able to manage fire in a way that fosters landscapes that are more resilient.