The summer of 2004 was one of the largest fire seasons on record for Alaska and western Canada. We construct a daily bottom-up fire emission inventory for that season, including consideration of peat burning and high-altitude (buoyant) injection, and evaluate it in a global chemical transport model (the GEOS-Chem CTM) simulation of CO through comparison with MOPITT satellite and ICARTT aircraft observations. The inventory is constructed by combining daily area burned reports and MODIS fire hot spots with estimates of fuel consumption and emission factors based on ecosystem type. We estimate the contribution from peat burning using drainage and peat distribution maps for Alaska and Canada; 17% of the reported 5.1 × 106 ha burned were located in peatlands in 2004. Our total estimate of North American fire emissions during the summer of 2004 is 30 Tg CO, including 11 Tg from peat. Including peat burning in the GEOS-Chem simulation improves agreement with MOPITT observations. The long-range transport of fire plumes observed by MOPITT suggests that the largest fires injected a significant fraction of their emissions in the upper troposphere.