As with other aspects of natural-resource management, the approach to managing wildland fires has evolved over time as scientific understanding has advanced and the broader context surrounding management decisions has changed. Prior to 2000 the primary focus of most fire research was on the physical and ecological aspects of fire; social science research was limited to a small number of studies. However, as more people moved into fire-prone areas interest grew in understanding relevant social dynamics. This growing interest was supported by increased funding for fire research overall with the creation of the Joint Fire Science Program in 1998 and the National Fire Plan in 2000. In subsequent years, a significant body of research has developed on the human dimensions of wildland fire covering diverse topics including: attitudes towards pre-fire mitigation, social acceptability of fire and fuels management, community preparedness, public response during fires, citizen-agency communications and post-fire recovery. This paper reports on two aspects of a Joint Fire Science Program project intended to take stock of the key social science lessons provided to date: a basic review of findings in the non-economic fire social science literature and identification of future research needs.