As a pair of marathon bushfires in the Lower South West finally burn out, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has warned the region’s peak season is far from over. DBCA was responsible for handling both blazes that broke out over the festive period — one between Northcliffe and Pemberton that started on December 19, and another that ignited in the Lake Muir Nature Reserve on Christmas Eve. The Northcliffe fire was given the all-clear last Wednesday, while the Lake Muir fire remains at advice level. DBCA regional leader of fire management Jeff Bennett said a dry spell in the spring months had created hospitable bushfire conditions. “We were forecasting an early season because of El Nino and that’s pretty much played out,” he said. “We have what’s called a fire index and in most places that was indicating a season four to six weeks in advance of the last one.” The two fires burnt through a combined total of more than 4000ha, but Mr Bennett said firefighters were grateful the risk to private property was limited by their secluded locations. “We had good support from local brigades,” Mr Bennett said. “We also had the State preformed team based in Manjimup to co-ordinate all the logistics and the planning.” Mr Bennett said dry conditions were a particular challenge in the region, where dense vegetation could create significant fuel loads for fires. “The Bureau (of Meteorology) is still telling us it’s going to be a warm, dry summer, so the bushfire risk remains very high,” he said. “Until we get some rainfall over the region, that will remain very high.” The Lake Muir fire is expected to continue smouldering until the area sees significant rainfall.