A Pyro-electric Infrared (FIR) sensor based flame detection system is proposed using a Markovian decision algorithm. A differential PIR sensor is only sensitive to sudden temperature variations within its viewing range and it produces a time-varying signal. The wavelet transform of the FIR sensor signal is used for feature extraction from sensor signal and wavelet parameters are fed to a set of Markov models corresponding to the flame flicker process of an uncontrolled fire, ordinary activity of human beings and other objects. The final decision is reached based on the model yielding the highest probability among others. Comparative results show that the system can be used for fire detection in large rooms. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.