As the Dunns Road bushfire began its run through Kosciuszko National Park in the first week of January, Clive Richardson felt a familiar sense of foreboding.
Mr Richardson had flashbacks to 2003, when bushfires tore through the Snowy Mountains, devastating native flora and fauna and destroying a number of the historic alpine huts with which he has had long and close association.
"I thought 'here we go again'," said Mr Richardson, who is president of Kosciuszko Huts Association, a volunteer group which helps to conserve, manage and, when necessary, reconstruct the huts.
The Dunns Road blaze has proven even more destructive, reducing to ruins buildings which had stood for more than 100 years.
The fire, which is still burning out of control, tore through the long-abandoned gold mining town of Kiandra, destroying the heritage-listed courthouse.
Buildings at Selwyn Snow Resort have been left in charred ruins.
The Dunns Road fire destroyed homes, buildings and a school in Cabramurra, which houses staff at Snowy Hydro, and caused damage to equipment at Lobs Hole, which is being used as the construction base for Snowy 2.0.
At least 10 of the mountain huts dotted around the national park have been destroyed, including Delany's Hut, Sawyers Rest House, Wolgals Lodge, Matthew's Cottage, Brooks Hut, Pattinson's House, Round Mountain Hut, O'Briens Hut and Four Mile Hut.
Originally built to provide accommodation for stockmen, prospectors, fishermen, skiers and Snowy Hydro workers, the huts are part of Snowy Mountains folklore.
But they have had a contemporary purpose, too, providing shelter and respite for hikers and visitors seeking to escape the alpine region's rain, wind, sun or snow.
"It's a loss of heritage ... and for the families associated with the huts, it's also a loss of family history and the physical connection they had to the country," Mr Richardson said.
"But remember it's not just the huts that have been destroyed, it's the loss of the wildlife as well."
Mr Richardson said it was "miraculous" that more huts haven't been destroyed, such was the size and ferocity of the Dunns Road blaze. Broken Dam Hut was among those to have somehow survived.
While saddened that the mountain huts had been destroyed, Mr Richardson emphasised that he and his group were keeping the loss of the historic buildings firmly in perspective.
The national bushfire crisis has claimed 27 lives, destroyed thousands of homes and economically-devastated communities and industries across NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.
The Dunns Road fire claimed the life of 47-year-old Goulburn man David Harrison, who had travelled to the small town of Batlow to help a friend defend their property.
A federal royal commission into the disaster is imminent.
Mr Richardson said some Kosciuszko Huts Association group members were determined to see the huts rebuilt.
"But it's such a delicate balance. What are you trying to preserve and what are you trying to replicate?" he said.
Cooma resident, photographer and horse lover Michelle Brown traveled through Kosciuszko National Park on Sunday to capture the devastation.
"As soon I saw it all for the first time, my heart just fell to my feet," she said.
"I thought 'oh my God, really'? There really is no way to describe it."
Ms Brown said Delany's Hut was a personal favourite, and was devastated to see that it had been completely destroyed by the fire.
She was saddened to know that the fires had destroyed guests books stored within each hut, meaning written records of the memories of thousands of visitors were now lost.
"It's beautiful to read those books and all of those messages," she said.