Catching Fire takes place in a fictional country called Panem which is located in North America. The Capitol is located somewhere in the “Rockies”. District 12, Katniss’ home district is located in the coal-rich Appalachian region. There are a total of 12 Districts, but there once was a 13th which was destroyed in the rebellion. The Hunger Games takes place in a stadium specially built for the event each year in an unidentified location.
After winning the 74th Hunger Games in the previous novel, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark return home to District 12, the poorest sector in the fictional country of Panem. On the day that Katniss and Peeta are to start a “victory tour” of the country, she is visited by President Snow. President Snow explains that he is angry at her for threatening to commit suicide with Peeta at the end of the Hunger Games, which permitted them both to win. President Snow tells Katniss that when she defied the Capitol, she created talk of rebellion in the districts. He threatens to kill her family and friends if she cannot prove to everyone in Panem that her act was not one of defiance, but that she was instead driven by an intense love for Peeta.
The first stop on the victory tour is District 11, the home of Katniss’s friend and ally in the Hunger Games, Rue, before she died. During the ceremony, Katniss delivers a quick speech to the people of District 11, thanking them for their tributes. When she is done, an old man whistles a tune that Rue used in the arena to tell Katniss that she was safe. The song acts as a signal, and everyone salutes Katniss using the same gesture that she used to say farewell to Rue. Katniss is taken away, but not before she sees Peacekeepers shoot the whistling man in the head. Katniss and Peeta then proceed to travel to all of the twelve districts and the Capitol. During an interview, Peeta proposes to Katniss publicly, hoping to settle the dispute between Katniss and President Snow. Despite this, Katniss learns that their attempts of subduing rebellion in the districts have failed. After they return home to District 12, it is announced that for the 75th Hunger Games, 24 from the current pool of victors will be forced back into the arena to fight to the death, once again. This is in honor of the Quarter Quell, an event that occurs every 25th year of the Games, and allows the Capitol to introduce a twist. Knowing that she and Peeta will both be competing in the Games a second time, Katniss decides that she will devote herself to protecting Peeta.
During the Games, Katniss and Peeta join up with two other previous victors, Finnick, a 24-year-old man who successfully survived the Games at the age of 14, and Mags, Finnick’s 80-year-old mentor, both from District 4. After Mags’ death, Katniss, Peeta, and Finnick join forces with Johanna Mason, a sarcastic and often cruel victor from District 7, and Beetee and Wiress, an older couple from District 3 who are said to be “exceptionally smart”. Wiress soon proves her genius by revealing to Katniss that the arena is arranged like a clock, with all of the arena’s disasters occurring on a timed chart. After Wiress is killed, Katniss learns of Beetee’s plan to harness lightning in order to supposedly electrocute two other contenders. In the final chapters, Katniss directs the lightning at the force field that contains the arena, thereby destroying the arena and resulting in her temporary paralysis. When she wakes up she is being transported to District 13, a place that is widely thought to no longer exist. She is joined by Finnick, Beetee, Gale, and Haymitch but learns that Peeta, Johanna and Enobaria (Johanna was the only one to be aware of the plan) have been captured by the Capitol. Katniss is informed that there had been a plan between most of the contestants to break out of the arena, and that Beetee had been attempting to destroy the force field in the same way that she did. The book ends with Katniss’s best friend Gale informing her that though he got her family out in time, District 12 has been destroyed.