Real Life, meteorsnote are mostly balls of ice and/or rock, neither of which is flammable through normal atmospheric combustion. As they enter the atmosphere the heated parts of the now-meteor melts/burns away, leaving a relatively cold meteorite behind if they manage to make it through the atmosphere and impact Earth intact.
But you wouldn't know this from their depictions in media.
Whether because most writers only know of meteors from the dozens of videos of meteors igniting the atmosphere (making it look like the meteor itself is burning), or because it looks cool, meteors in media are depicted as literal burning, or red-hot, boulders that incinerate anything they touch. If the object is burning even before the atmosphere is at all within range, then it's safe to assume that either Space Is Air is in effect as well, or you're dealing with a bonafide Magic Meteor.
Because of this association with fire, if anyone has the ability to call down meteors, it's the person Playing with Fire rather than the one Dishing Out Dirt, sometimes as a Limit Break. In these cases, they're often Slap On The Wrist Nukes. Compare with the standard Fireballs, which are sometimes depicted as small rocks that are on fire. Piss off your Game Master enough and it might be these particular rocks that fall. Contrast Frictionless Reentry; when objects travelling through space can get into the atmosphere without the atmosphere igniting.
For other things that look like they're burning when they actually aren't, see Faux Flame.
- Invoked Trope in Hoshin Engi: two of the Juttenkun combine their spatial Paopeis with Elemental Powers over rock and fire to create an asteroid field with massive flaming meteors flying at the enemies.
- One Piece:
- Akainu can use his Magma Man abilities to fire fist-shaped lava projectiles upwards. They rain down like burning meteors. The attack is appropriately named Ryusei Kazan, literally meaning "Meteor Volcano".
- Admiral Fujitora is a more straight example. His gravity abilities can bring down meteors from outer space, and they're all predictably fiery.
- Pokémon: The Series depicts the move 'Draco Meteor' as the user summoning dozens of flaming boulders from the sky. This is in contrast to the games where the same move calls down a number of non-flaming blueish-green meteors.
- The 3000 Whys of Blue Cat episode "Will Earth Be Destroyed?" depicts comets as fiery boulders heading towards Earth.
- In episode 6 of Happy Heroes, as Smart S. and Careless S. watch a meteor shower, one of the meteors falls squarely on them with a trail of flames behind it.
- At the end of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons episode 86, as a side-effect of Wolffy's unlucky potion, Wolf Castle starts to burn. Then a meteor covered in flames swoops right through the castle, hits Wolffy, and goes back up into the air with him.
- Captain America: The Resistants first appeared flying on a flaming meteor. Justified because two of them combined their powers over gravity (Meteorite) and fire (Crucible) to create it.
- In Supergirl one-shot Supergirl Special, the meteors crashing through Argo City's protective dome are featured as flaming rocks.
- Tintin: The Shooting Star: The meteor is seen as "a huge fireball" in the telescope.
- Wonder Woman (1942): During the copious amount of space travel the background has frequent depictions of "shooting stars". In space, not in atmosphere.
- Ever since he hatched, Aladar from Disney's Dinosaur has lived on an island with lemurs as a surrogate family. That all changed one day when the sky was filled with glowing fragments that were the harbingers of the Big One. That flaming meteor fell into the sea, causing a mushroom cloud and sending out a shockwave before flaming meteor shards began impacting across the island, each one making a miniature explosion, utterly obliterating more and more of the island. Aladar and the lemurs had to make a Leap of Faith from the island's edge into the water below, after which they swam to the mainland home of all the other dinosaurs.
- The Black Hole. A shower of glowing meteors start to pummel the Cygnus as it flies toward the eponymous black hole, smashing their way through the Mile-Long Ship and inflicting fatal damage. One gigantic (and suspiciously-spherical) red-hot meteor comes rolling down the Cygnus's central shaft as the heroes rush across a small footbridge in its path. You could argue the meteors are glowing due to being compressed and heated by the intense gravity of the black hole.
- Cat Women of the Moon. A flaming meteor whistles through space and lodges in the tailfin of their Retro Rocket, causing the heat to rise in the atomic chamber. It's that kind of movie.
- In A Practical Guide to Evil, Wekesa killed the former Warlock by conjuring a castle-sized chunk of Hell-rock directly above his tower.
- The Meteor Swarm spell in Dungeons & Dragons conjures small "meteors" that deal bludgeoning damage on impact and then explode for fire damage.
- The Ixalan block of Magic: The Gathering added a card based on this trope called "Star of Extinction," which destroys a land and deals 20 damage to everything that isn't a player, usually killing everything in play. It's depicted as a group of fiery meteors with smoking tails.
- Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: The 4th Edition spell "Comet of Casandora" calls down a large comet onto the battlefield, dealing a huge amount of damage and igniting everything underneath.
- Defense Grid: The Awakening and its sequel has the 'meteor towers' - it's a Meteor In Name Only though, as it is launched from the ground as a fiery ball which arcs to its impact zone, dealing massive amounts of fire damage.
- Diablo III has Meteor as a high-level Wizard spell, which not only impacts the ground to deal heavy fire damage, but also leaves behind a residual patch of fire at its impact location.
- In the Disgaea franchise, Laharl's recurring attack Meteor Impact is always depicted as a red glowing rock, as if it was made of magma.
- Dota 2:
- Invoker's Chaos Meteor deal damage-over-time when a foe touches the meteor. The distance of the meteor and the damage is based on his current power of Wex and Exort, respectively. It takes time for the meteor to land and move, so synergy with his other skills is necessary for maximum damage.
- The Meteor Hammer summons a meteor burning with blue flames after a few seconds which can stun and deal damage-over-time to units and buildings.
- Elden Ring: Starscourge Radahn heralds his phase transition by turning himself into one, leaping into the sky and barreling into the player in a Dynamic Entry that will most certainly be a One-Hit Kill if they don't dodge in time.
- Baar Dau was a flaming meteor in The Elder Scrolls Online, with only the will of Vivec (the god) preventing it from crashing into Vivec (the city). When his power wanes, it picks up its re-entry flames and moves closer before its momentum is finally arrested and it comes to a stop in its final resting position. It's original source is unknown, but rumour holds that it was thrown by Sheogorath and considering the cosmology of the Elder Scrolls this is not a baseless assumption.
- The Final Fantasy series has the recurring Meteor spell, which drops one or more flaming space rocks on the target for massive damage, though the spell is more often than not non-elemental. (Sometimes, as in Final Fantasy IV, it's actually holy-elemental.
- Fortnite has its own meteor event, but a Time Crash causes it to not only repeat but pause halfway, with the meteor remaining stuck in the sky with non-moving flame contrails all in place... but it's cool enough to land on. As in literally, but yeah, battling it out on a meteor is pretty cool.
- Golden Sun: 'Meteor' is the highest-level pure fire-element summon, which brings down a meteor the size of the screen into the enemy. The animation is even more complex in the third game, where it breaks apart slightly and is seen heating up in the atmosphere.
- Hearthstone: The mage spell Meteor calls down a giant flaming meteor that deals massive damage to a target minion and splash damage to adjacent minions. With the Forged in the Barrens expansion, it's part of the Fire spell school.
- Averted in Heroes of Might and Magic III. The "Meteor Shower" spell falls under the Earth magic school.
- In Path of Exile the skills that summon meteors are all fire spells, and despite skills that deal a combination of damage types being quite common deal purely fire damage with no physical damage component.
- In Terra Battle, Bahamut's final skill is "Meteor", which rains down a bunch of fiery meteorites on the field, dealing fire damage to any enemies that get hit.
- In Terraria, after the player has smashed a Shadow Orb or Crimson Heart in a world's Corrupt or Crimson biome, eventually a meteorite will land, replacing existing terrain with a bunch of superheated extraterrestrial ore. This rock can then be mined and crafted into Meteorite Ore, though the process is dangerous, since without the proper protective accessory or potion buff, a character will take constant fire damage while in contact with the glowing rock, and swarms of slow-moving Rock Monsters called Meteor Heads will emerge from off-screen to harass the player while they're trying to mine.
- The original Warcraft had the Conjurer unit able to summon a multitude of fiery meteors with the "Rain of Fire" spell, though the Mage of Warcraft II and Archmage of Warcraft III switched to the icy "Blizzard" AoE spell instead, giving the Rain of Fire ability to the demonic Pit Lord. However, the Mage class in World of Warcraft eventually gets the "Meteor" spell, which calls down a flaming rock that does large damage in the impact zone while leaving behind a lingering patch of fire. Some NPCs instead get the "Meteor Swarm" spell.
- Infernals are demonic Rock Monsters that burn with green Felfire, which are summoned to the battlefield in a curled-up meteor-like state, after which they stand up and begin laying into their summoner's enemies. The Dreadlord Hero Unit from Warcraft III could call one down with its "Inferno" ability, while in World of Warcraft, high level Warlocks can do the same. The MMO also introduces Abyssals, an Elite Mook variant of the already-formidable Infernal.
- Ember from Warframe has an ability "Inferno", which causes flaming rocks to fall on enemies' heads— even indoors— engulfing any surviving enemy on fire.
- Notable for being aversions: In Breath of Fire IV and Legend of Dragoon, the meteor spells are actually earth-elemental.
- DSBT InsaniT: Amber can summon a giant flaming meteor.
- Subverted in Draconia Chronicles. A volcano erupts and throws out meteor-like chunks of lava. At first, the fire dragons attempt to use their elemental control powers to deflect them, only to discover that they're actually made of rock and they can't really do anything to stop them. Giving the oppressed earth dragons the chance to demonstrate their value.
- Meteors in Homestuck look like normal asteroids when floating in the Veil, but as soon as they're summoned to various locations, they become flaming rocks. Since players can breathe in space, it's safe to assume the Medium got oxygen, allowing the meteors to look cool despite rock and ice being nonflammable.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Sozin's comet is portrayed as a fiery boulder from which Firebenders could draw extreme power. The Firelord's Evil Plan is to use this power to Take Over the World when the comet returns.
- In one episode, a meteor crashes into the Earth and causes a huge fire, which the Gaang uses bending to put out.
- The Loonatics Unleashed received their superpowers in 2772 when a large meteor entered the atmosphere of Acmetropolis, catching fire presumably due to air friction, and leaving a smoke trail as it plummeted into the city's central bay. There, it released arcane energies that empowered six relatively ordinary Funny Animals, and also some of their Rogues Gallery, such as Weather Vane and Massive.
- In the opening of the Superman Theatrical Cartoons episode 'The Magnetic Telescope', a meteor is dragged towards Earth, soars through the atmosphere, and rolls through a city as a red-hot solid ball of rock - so hot, in fact, that it lights a port authority building on fire just by rolling over it while simultaneously rolling past dozens of other buildings with no effect.