Assessment, treatment and sentencing of arson offenders need to be grounded in sound research about the phenomenon of arson in its various forms. Such data have the potential to moderate visceral and retributive legal responses to offenders. However, such a scientific response requires enhanced understanding about arson offending, including in Australia about bushfire arson offending; about the pathologies that can affect such offending; and about the efficacy of various forms of intervention and treatment. For such understanding, additional, focussed research is necessary and for it to be fed back into both the treatment and legal systems. Ideally this will include facility for intervention and treatment for persons who have not (yet) entered the forensic system. While programmes for better informed community responses are important, so too is further research on why and how arson is committed so as better to protect the community against its incidence. Key words: arson; assessment; bushfires; deterrence; mental health issues; rehabilitation; research; sentencing; treatment.