Alright, so after months of delay, here it finally is. A maya fluids tutorial, Fire Burns. First off, to give credit where it is deserved. My method illustrated here is VERY HEAVILY based on the turbulentflame.ma example file, accesible via Fluid Effects>Get Fluid Example>Fire>TurbulentFlame.ma. I basically just played with this file until I knew it backwards and forwards, then started from scratch to see if I could replicate it. So thank you Duncan et al.
This tutorial is broken into 4 parts. These are the steps I take for each fire I make, and also fit the pattern by which I learned in the first place. Starts out like the example file, one emitter in a small Fluid Container (the box). Second step is to add a bunch of emitters in a box that will fit the scene you are adding a fire to. Then we add the geometery, in this tutorial I use some simple logs for a fireplace. Final step is to put it in the environment with appropriate lighting - which I do entirely in maya. It would probably be way easier to composite it in another program, but I don't do compositing.
Some things you should know first
Fluids: a dynamic simulation that mimicks the natural phenomenon we think of as gas. It is not designed for 3D liquid simulations, although it is good at things like the surface of the ocean. If you are trying to do a flow of water from a hose, check out glu3D or realFlow.
Settings: most of the settings we'll use here are in two places. The big one is the fluidShape node's attribute editor, and the other is the collective attribute editors of all the emitters. Before you start, you should set your playback to 30 fps, play every frame in the Window>Settings/Preferences>Preferences window under Settings and Timeline respectively.
File sizes: The actual maya files involved aren't too big, about 300K. The problems come from Cache files, which are saved in two places: C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Local Settings\Temp, and in the data folder of your project (if you don't have one there, make one now). The temp file is the one that maya creates and works with. When you tell it to create a cache this is where it goes, then when you hit save, it copies it to your data folder. Make sure you've got at least a couple gigs clear on each drive or at least 4 or 5 clear if both folders are on the same drive.
Working times: This is about as much work as you can make your computer do, at least unless you're a geneticist mapping the human genome or something... It takes a LONG time. When I create caches, I tend to start it before bed, or work or something that's going to have me away from the computer for a long time. Renders take even longer, I've had up to 45 minutes a frame, this time I kept it at about 1 minute per frame. The good thing is you can control how long it takes. Fluids is capable of running sims in real time, simple 2D, boring, little sims. I like big badass 3D sims though... Sometimes the computer seems like it is frozen, but be patient... unless it is frozen, then your SOL.