Wilderness fire science has progressed since the last major review of the topic, but it was significantly affected by the large fire events of 1988. Strides have been made in both fire behavior and fire effects, and in the issues of scaling, yet much of the progress has not been specifically tied to wilderness areas or funding. Although the management of fire in wilderness has been slow to recover from the fires of 1988, science has progressed most significantly in its ability to deal with fire at a landscape level. Major challenges include better understanding of the regional context and function of wilderness areas, as well as understanding and incorporating fire patchiness, variability and synergistic disturbance factors into predictive models. If more precise models are to be applied accurately in wilderness, better weather databases are essential.