© The Author(s) 2021.Changes in climate, land use, and land management impact the occurrence and severity of wildland fires in many parts of the world. This is particularly evident in Europe, where ongoing changes in land use have strongly modified fire patterns over the last decades. Although satellite data by the European Forest Fire Information System provide large-scale wildland fire statistics across European countries, there is still a crucial need to collect and summarize in-depth local analysis and understanding of the wildland fire condition and associated challenges across Europe. This article aims to provide a general overview of the current wildland fire patterns and challenges as perceived by national representatives, supplemented by national fire statistics (2009–2018) across Europe. For each of the 31 countries included, we present a perspective authored by scientists or practitioners from each respective country, representing a wide range of disciplines and cultural backgrounds. The authors were selected from members of the COST Action “Fire and the Earth System: Science & Society” funded by the European Commission with the aim to share knowledge and improve communication about wildland fire. Where relevant, a brief overview of key studies, particular wildland fire challenges a country is facing, and an overview of notable recent fire events are also presented. Key perceived challenges included (1) the lack of consistent and detailed records for wildland fire events, within and across countries, (2) an increase in wildland fires that pose a risk to properties and human life due to high population densities and sprawl into forested regions, and (3) the view that, irrespective of changes in management, climate change is likely to increase the frequency and impact of wildland fires in the coming decades. Addressing challenge (1) will not only be valuable in advancing national and pan-European wildland fire management strategies, but also in evaluating perceptions (2) and (3) against more robust quantitative evidence.