Human impacts on fire regimes accumulated slowly with the evolution of modern humans able to ignite fires and manipulate landscapes. Today, myriad voices aim to influence fire in grassy ecosystems to different ends, and this is complicated by a colonial past focused on suppressing fire and preventing human ignitions.

About half of the global gas and particle emissions to the atmosphere resulting from the burning of biomass originate from sub-Saharan Africa. There are four principal pathways: wildfires, the use of biomass fuels for energy, burning associated with deforestation and the burning of agricultural residues.