Stochastic simulation models of initial attack on wildland fire can be designed to reflect the complexity of the environmental, administrative, and institutional context in which wildland fire protection agencies operate, but such complexity may come at the cost of a considerable investment in data acquisition and management. This cost may be well justified when it allows for analysis of a wider spectrum of operational problems in wildland fire protection planning. The California Fire Economics Simulator version 2 (CFES2), is a sophisticated stochastic simulation model designed to facilitate quantitative analysis of the potential effects of changes in many key components of most wildland fire systems, e.g. availability and stationing of resources, dispatch rules, criteria for setting fire dispatch level, staff schedules, and deployment and line-building tactics. The CFES2 model can also be used to support strategic planning with respect to vegetation management programs, development at the wildland-urban interface, reallocation of responsibilities among fire protection agencies, and climatic change. The analytical capacity of stochastic simulations models to address such key issues is demonstrated using the CFES2 model in four case studies addressing the impact on initial attack effectiveness of: (I) multiple fire starts; (2) diversion of firefighting resources to structure protection; (3) alternate stationing of firefighting resources; and (4) multi-agency cooperation.