Local, traditional, or indigenous knowledge play an important role in disaster risk reduction (DRR), and many policy Recommendations now call for the integration of local and expert views. While these attempts at integration are indeed promising, they are often built on assumptions that local knowledge is inherently separate from, or even subordinate to, expert perspectives. This article presents an account of what we call "local disaster knowledge" (LDK) in the Dieng Plateau of Central Java; a region characterised by volcanic craters that periodically expel poisonous concentrations of carbon dioxide gas. LDK is interpreted as a plural, embedded, relational and embodied knowledge system, which incorporates complementary forms of knowledge gained through everyday livelihood practice, scientific information and culturalâ€religious beliefs. Rather than focusing on the "separateness" of local knowledge, this article forwards an ethnographic approach to disaster research that recognises the beneficial knowledge interactions that already exist (many of which occur informally), and the contextual reasons that explain local understandings of risk. Our findings advocate for the more genuine and equal inclusion of local views in global DRR policy and frameworks, as well as in the design and implementation of local level programmes.