The theory and practice that embodies "learning organizations" can be applied to developing and implementing effective natural resource policy and management. A learning organization is a group of people who are continually enhancing their capacity to create the results they want. At the heart of learning organizations is systems thinking. This paper applies the language of systems thinking to our contemporary fire story. The paradigm shift from fire suppression to prescription is a classic systems archetype known as "shifting the burden." The causal loop diagram that makes up this archetype has two balancing loops and one reinforcing loop. The problem/symptom is damage from wildfire; the symptomatic solution is fire suppression; the delayed side-effect is fuel build-up and loss of biological diversity; and the fundamental solution is the application of prescribed fire. The structure of this system, and the corresponding mental models are explored.