Estimates of wildfire aerosol and trace gas emissions are most commonly derived from assessments of biomass combusted. The radiative component of the energy liberated by burning fuel can be measured by remote sensing, and spaceborne fire radiative energy (FRE) measures can potentially provide detailed information on the amount and rate of biomass consumption over large areas. To implement the approach, spaceborne sensors must be able to derive fire radiative power (FRP) estimates from subpixel fires using observations in just one or two spectral channels, and calibration relationships between radiated energy and fuel consumption must be developed and validated. This paper presents results from a sensitivity analysis and from experimental fires conducted to investigate these issues. Within their methodological limits, the experimental work shows that FRP assessments made via independent hyperspectral and MIR radiance approaches in fact show good agreement, and fires are calculated to radiate 14 +/- 3% [mean +/- 1S.D.] of their theoretically available heat yield in a form capable of direct assessment by a nadir-viewing MIR imager. The relationship between FRE and fuel mass combusted is linear and highly significant (r 2 = 0.98, n = 29, p < 0.0001), and FRP is well related to combustion rate (r 2 = 0.90, n = 178, p < 0.0001), though radiation from the still-hot fuel bed can sometimes contribute significant FRP from areas where combustion has ceased. We conclude that FRE assessment offers a powerful tool for supplementing existing burned-area based fuel consumption measures, and thus shows significant promise for enhancing pyrogenic trace gas and aerosol emissions estimates.