For the last few months, fire crews in California, Oregon, and Washington have been battling flames from multiple fires that have now consumed more than 5 million acres of land. And while we may have seen less news coverage of it this week, fires are still being contained, communities are still reeling from the fallout, and lives are still being lost.
Our episode last week touched on what is exactly is fueling these fires: changing climate, short-term weather patterns, and human settlement across the west. We also talked about potential solutions, including using Indigenous fire management tactics.
Today, we’re doing things a little bit differently. A Footnotes to a previous Footnotes, because as we have continue to talk about these wildfires, I keep seeing the same hashtag popping up on my Twitter, my Instagram. And that’s #LandBack, which is a movement to restore stolen territory to Indigenous nations. I was curious to learn more about the Land Back movement and how it dovetails with the current reality of these wildfires, so I reached out to Paul Robert Wolf Wilson, an enrolled member of the Klamath and Modoc Tribes, and independent photojournalist in Chiloquin, Oregon, where the 242 Fire has burned more than 12,000 acres of land.
Between evacuating and taking care of his family and documenting the state of the fires down in Southern Oregon, he managed to carve out some time to speak with me about Indigenous sovereignty, wildfire management, and the Land Back Movement.
Every Friday we break down our most important stories with the writers, contributors, and editors who crafted them. Hosted by Portland Monthly’s digital editor Gabriel Granillo, Footnotes provides clarity on complex stories with intimate and informative interviews.