Fighting Fire with Fire: Can Fire Positively Impact an Ecosystem?

Lesson plan with video, grades 6–8



Wildfires occur naturally when lightning strikes a forest or grassland. Alternatively, controlled burns, also known as prescribed fires, are set by land managers and conservationists to mimic the effects of natural fires. In this lesson, students explore controlled burn scenarios and the positive impacts of fire on ecosystems. Students assume the role of a fire manager to develop a recommendation for a specific ecosystem, and compare and contrast how organisms in different ecosystems have adapted to fire.


Lesson Plan

Student Handouts


fire, ecosystem

Published November 2013, updated March 2019