Fire activity in Australia is strongly affected by high inter-annual climate variability and extremes. Through changes in the climate, anthropogenic climate change has the potential to alter fire dynamics. Here we compile satellite (19 and 32 years) and ground-based (90 years) burned area datasets, climate and weather observations, and simulated fuel loads for Australian forests. Burned area in Australia's forests shows a linear positive annual trend but an exponential increase during autumn and winter. The mean number of years since the last fire has decreased consecutively in each of the past four decades, while the frequency of forest megafire years (>1 Mha burned) has markedly increased since 2000. The increase in forest burned area is consistent with increasingly more dangerous fire weather conditions, increased risk factors associated with pyroconvection, including fire-generated thunderstorms, and increased ignitions from dry lightning, all associated to varying degrees with anthropogenic climate change.