Please note, I have only seen the movie so this may be answered in the book.

Towards the end of Catching Fire,

Beetee sends Katniss and Johanna, with the wire spool, to the water following him wrapping the wire around the fake tree. As it appears that Beetee's plan was to use the power of the lightning strike to collapse the force field, why send the girls away?

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    In movie terms at least, that wasn't the plan, initially. The plan was to use the lightning strike to electrify the water, thus wiping out the opposition. – Roger Sep 29 '14 at 15:32
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    no, in both the book and the film, it is clear that Beetee has another plan besides that to electrocute the water. – The Giant of Lannister Sep 29 '14 at 21:38

He basically had to keep up the charade

It was essential to the rebels' plan that the Capitol not realize anything was up until right when the force field was destroyed. Accordingly, they crafted a plausible story for why Beetee would be messing around the lightning tree with a spool of highly conductive wires. If Beetee had told Katniss and Johanna to stay, it would have immediately indicated that he didn't actually plan on electrocuting the other Tributes, making the Capitol suspicious.

Also, Katniss and Peeta were intentionally kept in the dark. There would have been no way of telling them that the plan was off without immediately arousing their suspicions. At this point, they were both planning on abandoning the group once the Careers were dead. Acting suspiciously could have potentially fractured the group, making rescue that much more difficult.

So someone had to set up the wire. Peeta and Katniss needed to be protected from the Careers, so he couldn't send both of them or keep them both at the tree. So he split them up so that Finnick and Johanna could each protect one of them. Peeta was weakened from his encounter with the force field, so sending Katniss and a protector made the most sense.

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    Note also that the people assigned to protect Peeta and Katniss (Finnick and Johanna) are strong enough to subdue them one-on-one, if necessary. That is important because having kept them in the dark, there is no way to guarantee either would come quietly or comply as and when the real plan is put in action. We see Katniss held down by Johanna who cuts the tracker out of her arm, an act that initially confuses Katniss. In the confusion and chaos of an escape attempt, it would be important that Peeta/Katniss be moved out asap, with little or no time for explanation. – The Giant of Lannister Sep 29 '14 at 21:55
  • 'Katniss needed to be protected' - I think that girl is capable of protecting herself! – Rand al'Thor Nov 2 '14 at 12:26
  • I assumed the reason Peeta and Katniss were separated was so that they wouldn't break the alliance and run away together just before the plan went into action. – Rand al'Thor Nov 2 '14 at 12:27

The reason they did that was all, except for Peeta and Katniss had no idea about the plan so Katniss decided that she and Peeta should split off from the alliance but Peeta proposed if they hear a cannon they go. So Katniss agrees so when they're at the tree Beetee needs protection but they didn't want Katniss and Peeta leaving so, knowing Finnick and Johanna could protect Beetee they kept Peeta and Katniss apart.

About a minute later in the movie, Peeta's tracker still isn't cut out because Finnick was too ignorant and cared more about Johanna then getting Peeta out.


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