The Advocate goes into Orara Valley to see the smoke source
THE SKY fades from view from time to time and smoke hangs heavy in the air.
West of Coffs Harbour the rural landscape is showing the ravages of scrub and bush fires and it's hard not to think that somehow - thanks to the dedication of professional fire fighters, volunteers and a squadron of helicopter crews - that we've dodged a bullet.
Coffs Coast Advocate photo journalist Leigh Jensen headed into the Orara Valley at lunch time today as rumours began spreading that all wasn't well with the fires.
Before leaving the office she spoke to friends residing in the area who warned of seeing flare-ups and fires jumping containment lines.
"By the time I arrived at Glenreagh you could see around the hills where the fire had travelled," Jensen said.
"The rock ridges are all burned and blackened and while the fire has gone over the top of the ridge and I couldn't see flames, the smoke tells you where it is now and where it's been.
"Helicopters fly across to drop the water loads and it's a strange sight."
There's no emergency and most fears have settled.
However, evacuations were made from Darkwoods Road as a precaution or residents made up their own minds and took the option of leaving.
"My friends have decided to move into town for the night, just to be sure," Jensen added.
"They live on the opposite side of the creek to where the fire is now but you never know.
"You just, never, ever know if it will jump across so better safe than sorry."