Where is the Wildfire?

April 18th 2023
Field research
Conscious movement
Climate crisis
Human footprint
Climate change

The village is called Black Flying Squirrel Place, because at the time there were a lot of flying mice here, people hung them by the fire to smoke them, but now no one sees a flying squirrel anymore

The first day we arrived, a young man told us, "The visibility was great here, you could see everywhere! The view has gone gray these days, there must be a forest fire somewhere." All the villagers agree with him about the visibility, but they have different ideas about the cause of its decrease.

Some think it's a serious fire in Kunming (700 kilometers away); others say the smoke must be coming from Myanmar, which is only a day's walk away, and where people can still practice slash-and-burn farming that was banned here long ago.

The next day, we met with forest rangers in this village and they told us that the smoke may have come from a forest fire in nearby Yunlong County, Dali Prefecture.

According to the villagers' memories, there was a forest fire on Ahnicodi Mountain in front of the village in the 2000s, some said it was in the 1980s, others even said it was in the 1950s, and were interrupted by another, "Impossible, you were not born in the 1950s yet." The only common response was that the fire burned continuously for three days and nights.

On the fourth day of our arrival, the view was still gray for us. But the young villager said, "The view is pretty clear today, it looks like the fire has already been put out somewhere."