Police and firefighters were called to the Bay Horse pub, Hill Top, at around 8.45pm tonight (Tuesday).
Detectives said two masked men entered the pub and one poured an accelerant on property in the pub before setting it on fire.
A number of people were in the pub at the time but managed to escape uninjured.
The blaze has now been put out after crews from Pontefract, Castleford, Normanton and Featherstone attended.
A police spokesman said the two men were both wearing masks from the Scream movie. One was described as being 5ft 8ins tall, of medium build and wearing a black jacket/hooded top with black tracksuit bottoms.
The other suspect is described as being around 5ft 10ins tall.
Det Insp Viv Segerius-Allick, of Wakefield District CID, said: “We are keen to speak to anyone who has witnessed this incident or who has information about who may be responsible. They have caused significant damage to this public house and put a number of lives at risk.
“We understand that people may have mobile footage of the aftermath of this incident and we would urge them to provide this to us to assist detectives in their ongoing enquiries.
“Anyone with information is asked to call Wakefield District CID via 101. Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
“I would stress that incidents of this nature are extremely rare and we are treating the matter very seriously. We understand that this arson attack will cause some concern in the wider community and our neighbourhood teams will be carrying out increased reassurance patrols in the area over the coming days.”