Background Because of climate and forest vegetation, Turkey has regions (particularly the Mediterranean and Aegean regions) that are vulnerable to forest fires. Approximately 2000 forest fires have occurred every year for the last 20 years, with at least 48% of them caused by humans. This percentage increases to 71% when the rates of fires of unknown causes are included. In this study, legislation on Turkish forest fires was analyzed based on the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO's) guide, "Forest Fires and the Law." The guide was prepared by expert lawyers and addresses the basic topics of definitions; institutional setup and interinstitutional coordination planning, monitoring, and assessment; prevention and preparedness; detection and early warning and suppression; participatory and community-based approaches to fire management; fire use; rehabilitation; and law enforcement. The objective of this study was to reveal the current status of Turkish forestry legislation and its practices based on the FAO guide. Results According to our analysis, Turkish forestry legislation has followed the FAO criteria 78.1% of the time. It is clear that effective regulations exist, with the Turkish Constitution being the foremost touchstone. The results illustrate that, no matter how strong the legislation is, a deficiency in administrative measures and a lack of public awareness make combating forest fires unsuccessful. Conclusions The areas that need to be improved have been determined to be definitions, participatory and community-based approaches to fire management, and creating a fire line. A focus on public participation and the social approach is needed.