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A sample of 47 importance ≥ 1 flares whose Hα emission occurred or protruded over umbrae of major sunspots (so called Z-flares) was studied to investigate characteristics of the associated dm–m radio, microwave and soft X-ray emission as the energy release site permeats into regions of strong magnetic fields. A close time association was found between the microwave burst peak and the ‘contact’ of the Hα emission with the sunspot umbra. The Hα emission attained maximum close to or a few minutes after the contact. The soft X-ray bursts were delayed more, attaining maximum 0–10 min after the contact. The onset of bursts in the dm–m wavelength range was associated with the period of growth or the peak of the microwave burst. Two categories of type III and IV bursts could be recognized: the ones starting some ten minutes before the microwave peak, and those that begin close to the microwave burst peak. Type III bursts occur preferably when the microwave burst peaks simultaneously with or after the contact. The results are explained presuming that the contact reveals a permeation of the energy release process into a region of strong magnetic fields, where the process intensifies, and where the accelerated particles have access to magnetic field lines extending to large coronal heights. Different manifestations of the energy release process in various magnetic field topologies are considered to account for the various time sequences observed.