Scientists at the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station and their collaborators recently reconstructed the history of fire in portions of New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. This research adds to their work in the Great Plains, Midwest and Southern U.S., and Canada. Site-specific fire histories define many attributes of a fire regime such as frequency, seasonality, and severity, and reveal how fire varied over time in relation to changing climate, and human populations and cultures. Understanding the changing role of fire helps explain the major shifts in the dominance and distribution of natural communities. Fire histories are used to develop prescriptions for restoration of natural communities such as savannas and woodlands. Collectively, over 170 fire histories from across the U.S. have been used to develop a continental model that predicts fire frequency based on climatic variables. The model was first used to predict historic (pre-European) fire frequency but has since been used to assess the probability of fire in the future under a range of climate scenarios. These assessments can be used to develop state and regional plans to reduce risk to catastrophic wildfires, to restore natural communities and their biodiversity, and to allocate limited resources to priority areas.