The severity of charges and sentencing related to an alleged arson is determined by the varying degrees of arson. The seriousness of the charges can be determined by whether someone was hurt or killed due to the fire. Another factor that may heavily affect the charges or sentencing is the value of the property that was damaged due to the intentionally set fire.
If someone were killed due to the fire, the arsonist would likely be charged with murder. The proximity of a residence to the fire can also be a factor. Whether or not the structure that was burned was a residence and the time of day the fire was set can also be a major factor in determining the degree of arson.