Kaylee used to love to fly. With two pilots for parents, how could she not? But when her father's plane goes down and neither the wreckage nor his body is found, she develops a terror of flying. She is too afraid to convince her mother to take her back to the Caribbean to search for her father. And she is haunted by fear whenever her mother goes up to fight fires in a water bomber. Kaylee escapes her fear and her grief on treks with her dog, Sausage, through the forest, the Big Tangle, near her home. But, one day, fire follows her into the forest and events conspire against her until the only escape is resting on pontoons at the dock on Booker Bay.
Jaz lives in the small northern community of Destiny and is a new member of the Junior Canadian Rangers. Her divorced parents argue a lot, and Jaz hopes if she wins a dog-mushing derby, they will be so proud of her they will stop arguing. But the derby would be a lot more fun if she wasn't paired with Colly, an older boy who is a more experienced JCR. On the derby trail all Jaz's newfound skills, her will to survive and her ability to get along with Colly, are put to a life-and-death test.