This study provides the first prospective evaluation of the course and predictors of children's involvement with fire over a 2-year period in 268 nonpatient and patient children (ages 6–13 yrs). Selected predictor variables obtained at initial (intake) assessment, which included fire-specific and general psychosocial measures, were examined in each sample using hierarchical logistic regression. Both samples reported heightened involvement in matchplay and firesetting at follow-up, though the frequency of each behavior was nearly four times higher in patients than in nonpatients. Fifty per cent and 59% of the initial firesetters in the nonpatient and patient samples, respectively, became recidivists. In the nonpatient sample, the child's initial involvement in firesetting and level of covert antisocial behavior were the only psychosocial predictors of follow-up firesetting that added incremental variance beyond demographics. In the patient sample, the child's initial involvement in fire-related acts and level of covert antisocial behavior were the only predictors of follow-up firesetting beyond any initial involvement in matchplay. The findings highlight somewhat different risk factors for subsequent firesetting in nonpatient and patient children, especially prior firesetting and matchplay, respectively, and bear implications for the prevention of firesetting recidivism.