By the 1960s, it was apparent that no new giant sequoia had grown in California forests, because fire is an essential part of their lifecycle. Fires also had utility in timber production—they clear understory, allowing more valuable timber stock to grow. And in dry climates like the western United States, with an absence of fire, flammable material simply accumulates, creating more dangerous situations years later. As problems surfaced and compounded, in response, there has been a slow and experimental shift from fire fighting to fire management. New technology enables new solutions. A quick thought becomes policy, which becomes a long disaster, which teaches us, at last, to think a little longer. It is right of us to call fire management an “experimental” policy, for we cannot make policy about the natural world as if it is a board game of rules and resources. We simply do not know all the rules. We can only intervene and wait for the surprising consequences we never predicted. Fire policy was an experiment all along, it was only ever a question of how much we were willing to assume at one time. The archives of human cleverness are filled with blunders. When read in a good mood, history is a blooper reel. But it should not be lost on us that history never repeats, and modern technology enables ever more leverage. The more technology you can harness to commit an idea, and the faster your idea can spread, the greater the magnitude of something going wrong with a single decision. Scale is a capricious beast, one that becomes easier to summon and harder to predict. Be very careful when you let it in the house.