Forest fires across most of North America are as natural as sunshine and rain, and have been burning regularly since the end of the last ice age. This includes the biggest, hottest blazes that kill all or most trees in a vast area. Not only are large fires natural, they create excellent habitat for many plants and animals. For these species, years without large fires are bad fire years. Contrary to the story told by the media, politicians, the timber industry, and the US Forest Service that large fires are common and destructive, they actually are rare, and restorative to our forests.