Predictions are that climate change will increase the risk of forest fires. However most forest fires (around 95%) are started by human activity, some intentionally. All fires cause a reduction in the ecological diversity of the land.
Fires are part of the natural seasonal cycle of forest growth, but the IPCC has listed a number of places where fire activity has significantly increased over the last decade, exceeding the expected number of natural fires.
Fire frequency is expected to increase with human-induced climate change, especially in places where rainfall is reduced or remains the same. The use of models has also suggested the increase in risk, frequency and severity of fires in Europe.
The most direct consequence of this change in fire pattern will be the changes in structure and composition of forests, changes in land use patterns and increased emissions to the atmosphere. Have a look in the Lower Atmosphere Unit for more about emissions to the air from biomass burning.