The popular Siberia Hut on the Gillespie Pass Circuit Track in Mt Aspiring National Park burnt to the ground today.
Trampers raised the alarm at approx 4.30pm by running to the Kerin Forks Hut in the Wilkin Valley to contact the department’s Wanaka Area Office by radio.
It is believed that the fire started at approx 3.15pm. The cause at this stage is unknown. Fire authorities will be investigating the incident in the coming days.
There were no injuries to trampers in the hut. The 8 adults and 5 children in the huts are being evacuated by helicopter.
The DOC backcountry hut was original built in the early 1980s.
Around 2,000 trampers per year use the hut – which has a 20 bunks capacity.
Paul Hellebrekers, Area Manager, Wanaka said, “At this stage our priority is evacuating people from the valley and then working through the process to determine the cause of the fire.”
A further media release will be provided tomorrow.