International Rescue's British agent Lady Penelope visits the organization's secret base Tracy Island. Jeff Tracy introduces her to his sons, the pilots of the various Thunderbird craft. Meanwhile in Canada, business partners Sam Lincoln and Jack Farrell are embarking on a fishing holiday by a swiftly flowing river. Farrell is unaware, however, that Lincoln has brought him to this remote location to murder him so he can take control of the Canada Engineering Corporation. Lincoln detonates numerous incendiary charges to cover his tracks, but these trigger a forest fire that threatens to become a major disaster...
Using her private jet, Lady Penelope and Parker make a visit to Tracy Island, where Jeff Tracy introduces her to his sons (with the exception of Gordon as, according to Jeff, he is working on Thunderbird 4). After Jeff explains the purpose of their organisation, Lady Penelope is very honoured to be International Rescue's British agent. Then, Alan and John set off in Thunderbird 3 to go to Thunderbird 5.
Meanwhile, in Canada, two men, Sam Lincoln and Jack Farrell are on a fishing holiday by a river. However, when Sam goes off to collect some refreshments from their car, Jack is unaware what Sam has planned behind his back: Sam Lincoln plans to take control of Canada Engineering Incorporated, and with Jack Farrell clearly the senior partner of their business, he wants to murder him. So, secretly, Sam contacts someone called Boise to bring the helijet to him, whilst he sets off the incendiary charges which are already in place around the forest. Boise's part of the deal with the murderous scheme is $20,000. After making the transmission, Sam sets off the charges, which immediately sets the entire forest into raging inferno.
Aboard Thunderbird 5, just as Thunderbird 3 makes its return journey to Earth, John picks up the transmission between Sam Lincoln and Boise, and contacts Jeff about the danger. However, Jeff knows that their organisation is for rescue missions, and not police work, so he warns the Canadian Authorities. Despite their best efforts, the fire department are forced back by the immense heat, meaning that they can't rescue the two men trapped by the river; even Jack Farrell notices the blaze rushing through the forest.
As soon as John receives the updated information, Jeff orders Scott to launch Thunderbird 1. Once in flight, Scott contacts the fire chief of X-Division, Canada, who explains the situation. Back by the river, Sam reveals his murderous scheme to Jack with a gun, and that a helijet is on its way to collect him. However, when the helijet arrives, the immense heat from the blazing forest ignite the aircraft's fuel tanks, destroying the aircraft into pieces, and sending it into the river, over the waterfall.
Meanwhile, Scott arrives aboard Thunderbird 1, and the fire chief explains that the two men are trapped between the forest fire and the raging river. To make matters difficult, there's a cliff on the other side of the river. So, Scott contacts Tracy Island and soon, Thunderbird 2 (Pod 4) with Virgil and Gordon is on its way. Back at the river, Jack Farrell knocks the gun out of Sam Lincoln's hand, and takes hold of it; but doesn't intend to kill Sam. Both men try to get to their car, but the flames send their car off sky-high. It seems that both men are doomed - until they hear an aircraft coming towards them, which turns out to be Thunderbird 1.
Seeing the situation by the river, Scott radios Thunderbird 2, and gives instructions to Virgil, and Gordon gets ready aboard Thunderbird 4. Positioned above the river, Thunderbird 2 carefully lowers Pod 4 onto the raging torrent, and then, Thunderbird 4 is launched. Meanwhile, Scott orders Jack and Sam to head for the boulders in the river, and Gordon manoeuvers Thunderbird 4 into position to collect the two men. However, the strong current forces Gordon to use the boosters to reverse back. After collecting the two men, Gordon's worst fears are realized: the boosters overheat the engines, causing them to explode, and the raging rapids forces Thunderbird 4 downriver, and over the waterfall.
After a long rough ride, Thunderbird 4 stops wedged between some rocks; luckily, all three men have survived. Scott, aboard Thunderbird 1, contacts Virgil to collect Thunderbird 4 whilst he checks out the fire situation. Once Thunderbird 4 is winched back aboard Pod 4, Thunderbird 2 proceeds to carry out the fire-fighting operation.
However when Thunderbird 2 lands at a safe clearing within the forest, Sam Lincoln has other ideas as he forces Virgil at gunpoint to take him to the fire-fighting appliances, and open up the pod so that he can escape alone. But, as Sam took the master fire fighter vehicle, this leaves only the three other fire-fighting vehicles on board which are all remote. So quickly, Virgil and Gordon convert one of them to manual control, and then, with Jack Farrell's assistance, all three fire-fighting vehicles go into action.
Virgil informs Scott of Sam's escape, so Scott takes off in Thunderbird 1 to find him. Sam's escape plan has gone badly wrong; not only has he got lost, he hasn't bothered to use the fire-fighting equipment in his vehicle. Eventually, Virgil finds Sam and gets him out of the vehicle just before it explodes, knocking them both out in the process. Sam manages to come round, but Virgil grabs him by his ankle. However, Sam gains the upper hand, and knocks out Virgil, allowing him to escape in the fire-fighting vehicle that Virgil was using. Scott tells Gordon to get over to Virgil fast, and Virgil regains his senses just as Gordon comes to him, narrowly avoiding flaming branches raining down on them.
Sam Lincoln has cleared the forest, but Scott aboard Thunderbird 1 is gaining on him. Then, very carefully, Scott lowers his aircraft down and sends Sam in the fire-fighting vehicle over the edge of an embankment, giving Sam a taste of his own medicine. After being rolled over in the vehicle, Sam finally throws in the towel, and Scott hands him over to the police. The fire chief thanks International Rescue for their help, but Scott tells him to forget what he saw, knowing that the whole world could be in danger if the secret of their organisation falls into the wrong hands.
Following recovery, Virgil and Gordon get the badly-damaged fire-fighting vehicle back aboard Thunderbird 2, and after a thanks from Jack Farrell, Thunderbirds 1 and 2 head for home, where Scott is longing for a nice cool drink.
(In order of appearance)
- Lady Penelope
- Jeff Tracy
- Gordon Tracy
- Scott Tracy
- Virgil Tracy
- Alan Tracy
- John Tracy
- Brains (does not speak)
- Tin-Tin Kyrano (does not speak)
- Kyrano (does not speak)
- Grandma Tracy (does not speak)
- Sam Lincoln
- Jack Farrell
- Boise (not seen)
- Fire Chief - X Division, Canada
- Two Unnamed Firefighters
International Rescue Equipment UsedEdit
- Thunderbird 1
- Thunderbird 2 (Pod 4)
- Thunderbird 3
- Thunderbird 4
- Thunderbird 5
- Master Fire Fighter Vehicle
- Remote Fire Fighter Vehicles 1, 2 and 3
- This was the first ever comic strip to appear in TV Century 21 and also to be illustrated by Frank Bellamy.
- Thunderbird 2 uses winches attached to its main body to lower Pod 4 into position, rather than releasing it as shown in the television series. Also, it uses magnetic locks to bring Thunderbird 4 back on board.
- Pod 4 unusually carries the fire-fighting vehicles as well as Thunderbird 4 in this story.
- In the very end of the story, it states that Alan is still aboard Thunderbird 5 with John; but close to the beginning of the story, it mentioned and illustrated that Alan was heading back to Earth aboard Thunderbird 3. Also, in the final illustration, Thunderbird 5 is shown, but Thunderbird 3 isn't there.