Altered fire regimes resulting from climate change and human activity threaten many terrestrial ecosystems. However, we lack a holistic and detailed understanding of the effects of altering one key fire regime component – season of fire. Altered fire seasonality can strongly affect post-fire recovery of plant populations through interactions with plant phenology. We identify seven key mechanisms of fire seasonality effects under a conceptual demographic framework and review evidence for these. We reveal negative impacts of altered fire seasonality and identify research gaps for mechanisms and climate types for future analyses of fire seasonality effects within the identified demographic framework. This framework and these mechanisms can inform critical decisions for conservation, land management, and fire management policy development globally.