Australia · Mount Warning · photography · Tweed Valley

Visions of Winter in the Valley

rising smoke

The back of my house overlooks the Tweed Valley, and the floor of the valley is covered in acre upon acre of sugar cane fields. Sugar production is one of the major industries in the area, just as it has been for many years, and during the winter, when the cane is ready for harvesting, fires are lit in the scrubby undergrowth, making way for a clear harvest run for the heavy machinery.

cane fire

Usually, we see the bright orange glow of the cane fires after night fall, when a strip of the valley can be seen first of all smoldering, slowly transforming into orange flames, and as the fire takes hold we often hear the crackling sounds in the stillness of the dark night. It’s a magical sight, and one which we never tire of seeing.

dancing flames

I’ve tried so often to take photos of the cane fires, but with the surrounding darkness of the night, rarely do the photos do justice to the sight we see. Recently however, I spotted a swirl of smoke in the valley, late in the afternoon, before nightfall. And it eventually developed into a doozy of a fire too!

blanket of smoke

As you can see in the final photo, at the peak of the blaze, the density of the smoke almost completely hid majestic Mount Warning, the extinct volcanic mountain, and overseer of the Tweed Valley.

I may complain ad-nauseum about the sweltering heat during the summer, but it is winter still, and all things considered, I do live in a beautiful part of Australia.

“Out on the patio we’d sit,
And the humidity we’d breathe,
We’d watch the lightning crack over canefields
Laugh and think, this is Australia.” ~ This is Australia, Gangajang.


10 thoughts on “Visions of Winter in the Valley

  1. Beautiful photos, Joanne. Does the smoke linger in the air, tickling noses, or does it dissipate quickly? We’ve been plagued by lingering smoke from wildfires many miles away this summer, which causes my sinus to rebell.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you know, Carol, we never smell the smoke from cane fires at all, yet if there is a bush fire about, we do smell it. That question got me thinking!


    1. It never crosses my mind to be worried about the cane fires spreading. Cane farmers have been cleaning up the cane before harvest in this way for so long and they know exactly when they can burn, which is always during still weather. And the smoke never reaches us and there is no odour at all, just the beautiful brief glow of the orange line of fire in the valley. Nothing like a bush fire at all.


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