Advances in fire climatology have derived from recent studies of modern and paleoecological records. We convened a series of workshops and a conference session to report and review regional-scale findings, and these meetings led to the 10 papers in this special issue. Two papers focus on fire and climate patterns in the modern era using documentary records, four papers utilise tree rings to evaluate recent centuries of change, and four papers evaluate charcoal and pollen in lake, bog, and alluvial sediments over the Holocene. Here we summarise some of the key findings from these papers in the context of other recent fire climatology literature. These studies illustrate the value of long-term perspectives and spatial networks of fire and climate data in discovering the patterns and modes of past fire regime and climate variations. © IAWF 2008. Reproduced from the International Journal of Wildland Fire (Thomas W. Swetnam and R. Scott Anderson, 2008) with the kind permission of CSIRO PUBLISHING on behalf of the International Association of Wildland Fire.