Biomass burning constitutes a major contribution to global emissions of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, greenhouse gases and aerosols. Furthermore, biomass burning has an impact on health, transport, the environment and land use. Vegetation fires are certainly not recent phenomena and the impacts are not always negative. However, evidence suggests that fires are becoming more frequent and there is a large increase in the number of fires being set by humans for a variety of reasons. Knowledge of the interactions and feedbacks between biomass burning, climate and carbon cycling is needed to help the prediction of climate change scenarios.