A suspicious fire that has burnt more than 7000ha near Green Range and Mettler but has not impacted structures, has been brought under control by firefighters after the area was placed under an emergency level warning twice last week. First reported at 6.02am on Wednesday, February 7 near Venns Road it triggered an advice-level warning before being upgraded to emergency the same day when it broke containment lines and threatened lives and homes. No homes have been lost in the Great Southern blaze that has razed 7339ha but fencing, cropping country, private bush and the Tinkelelup Nature Reserve have been damaged. It’s the second massive bushfire in the space of a fortnight after the dramatic blaze that broke out in Vancouver Peninsula near Albany. City of Albany community emergency services manager Brendan Gordon said on Monday the Department of Fire and Emergency Services would hand management of the fire back to the City of Albany within the next day. “It’s now 100 per cent tracked, so the fire is within its containment lines, and the majority of the edging has been put out so we work on 20m in from the fire control edge,” he said. “All the conditions now, and weather conditions, have moderated and the winds have changed. “Kudos to the crews out on the ground, both Parks (Parks and Wildlife) and bushfire volunteers, and Albany VFRS and the career firefighters, who were able to keep within the containment lines.” Mr Gordon said that while South Coast Highway is now open there are speed restrictions in place that will remain for a few days. Speaking from the incident management team in Albany on Thursday afternoon, DFES Great Southern district officer Diarmuid Kinsella said the source of the fire is under investigation. “We are treating it as suspicious; that’s about all I can say at this stage,” Mr Kinsella said. A large air tanker was sent in to assist on Wednesday and four small water bombers were supporting on Thursday. Mr Kinsella said that given the steep, hilly terrain and challenging weather conditions, which caused “erratic fire behaviours”, crews had done a “fantastic job” in protecting lives and structures with no losses reported. The blaze went back down to watch and act on Thursday morning following the efforts of firefighters who worked throughout the night to bring the fire under control. South Coast Highway was impacted by the fire after it jumped the highway and damaged three power poles. Crews from Western Power worked quickly to restore power to 336 homes and businesses near the blaze and replace three damaged power poles. Some homes and businesses had no power until it was restored on Sunday. “The power outage occurred because the fire actually impacted infrastructure, so poles went down,” Mr Gordon said. By Thursday afternoon the warning level jumped back to emergency level where it stayed until that night when it was downgraded to watch and act at 7.38pm. In a dramatic twist of events a serious crash occurred at a roadblock at 8.05pm that saw a 64-year-old man cut from his vehicle after a ute collided with two firetrucks. A further three people were taken to hospital after the crash, including a traffic controller who was at the roadblock. A combined effort of volunteer and career firefighters, farmer response units, water bombers, and Department of Fire and Emergency Services and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions personnel were involved in the fire fight. At the fire’s peak there were more than 120 firefighters involved on the ground. South Coast Highway between Cheynes Beach Road and Borden-Bremer Bay Road was impacted by the fire on Friday, forcing road closures between the intersections. Road infrastructure such as signs and guideposts were damaged but the road itself remains intact. Mr Kinsella said on Thursday five to six houses had been evacuated as a result of the “erratic” and “scary” blaze. The fire was downgraded from emergency on Thursday night to a watch and act level, where it stayed until Saturday night. The area continues to be patrolled by firefighters. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report the information online at www.crimestopperswa.com.au.