This paper reports a study of the gaseous emissions from Indian forest fires from 2005 to 2016 and their potential impact on radiative forcing. Initially, forest burned area is quantified using MODIS-MCD45A1 data. Results showed that annual burned area of the study period ranges from 8439 km2 to 25,442 km2 and the maximum forest area is burned during February, March, and April in any year. Gaseous emissions are estimated using emission factors, the mass of fuel available for combustion, combustion factor, and burned area. CO2, CO, and CH4 are the major emissions during forest fires with an annual average of 105 × 106 tonnes, 6 × 106 tonnes, and 3.25 × 105 tonnes, respectively. The average radiative forcing (RF) for CO2, CH4, and N2O is estimated as 1.8 Wm−2, 0.49 Wm−2, and 0.177 Wm−2, respectively. An important finding in the present study is the recurrence of forest fires during the pre-monsoon season. © 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.