Devastating: The burnt-out remains of Lake Ohau Alpine Village on Monday. PICTURE: Craig Baxter


A Queenstown architect whose holiday home survived the huge blaze that swept through Lake Ohau Alpine Village this week says it’s a miracle no one died.

Ian Adamson says it’s ‘‘raw’’ to talk about because his family is one of the ‘‘very few and fortunate’’ property owners whose house wasn’t destroyed.

‘‘We have neighbours who only have the shirt on their back.

‘‘I know quite a few of them, and that’s why it’s difficult to talk about.’’

The blaze, which remained contained at the time Mountain Scene went to press on Wednesday night, has destroyed more than 40 of the village’s 70 homes and burnt through more than 5500ha since it started early on Sunday.

Adamson says the actions of the residents who immediately raised the alarm, helping ensure everyone got out alive, were impressive.

‘‘I take my hat off to those people.

‘‘It’s a miracle there was no loss of life.’’

His holiday home was built in Cromwell and transported to the village about four years ago.

He usually stays there every two or three weeks, especially during the ski season.

He was on holiday in Tasman Bay when he heard the news.

‘‘We learnt about it from a couple of residents pretty much at the time of the event, at four in the morning.’’

Neighbours who have since been allowed into the village by Fire and Emergency NZ have told him his house appears to be completely undamaged, ‘‘even though it sits very close to where there’s a large loss of property’’.

Aftermath: While some Ohau homes were completely destroyed by the wildfire, others, including Queenstown architect Ian Adamson’s, were untouched. PICTURE: POOL

He’s hoping to get permission to visit soon.

Adamson says property owners in the village have always been aware of the fire risk and its remoteness from emergency services.

‘‘The wilding pines are something that everybody’s been very much aware of.

‘‘Should they catch alight, there’s a high risk of fire spreading quickly, and it appears that’s possibly what’s happened.’’