Nepal is highly vulnerable to climate change with increased fire occurrences and fire burned areas in recent years; therefore, we accessed the climatic drivers for its variability using fire burned areas product of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) from 2001 and 2020. The peak fire burned areas were observed in the spring season (~91%) from March to May, especially higher in the lowlands of the western and central parts. At the interannual timescale, low precipitation, humidity, soil moisture, and high temperature supported the existence of spring fire. Combining these factors induces drought conditions, enhancing evapotranspiration from vegetation and providing more combustible fuels. Furthermore, the El Niño phase in the central-eastern Pacific Ocean is related to the weakened westerly moisture transport and moisture divergence that creates dry and warm conditions leading to increased fire activities. Thus, this study could be helpful for preparedness, management, and policy-making to limit the multi-dimensional losses in the ecosystem and society due to fire. © 2022 The Authors. Atmospheric Science Letters published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Meteorological Society.