McCaw f lies against the f lames

The Press - - Port Hill Fires -

It seems there is no rest for Richie McCaw, who has been fight­ing the fire in the Port Hills since Mon­day night.

The for­mer All Blacks cap­tain com­pleted the gru­elling 30.5-kilo­me­tre moun­tain run leg of the Coast to Coast with wife Gemma last Fri­day be­fore go­ing straight into fire­fight­ing this week.

Aerial sup­port has played a cru­cial role in fight­ing the huge fire, which is burn­ing in steep hill coun­try with sparse road or wa­ter ac­cess.

In an in­ter­view with Ra­dio Live, McCaw said he was ‘‘just do­ing ground crew stuff’’.

‘‘I’m fill­ing he­li­copters pretty much.’’

He said he wasn’t yet fly­ing the mon­soon buck­ets, but ear­lier yes­ter­day he had taken peo­ple map­ping the area for a flight.

On Mon­day af­ter­noon he had been mov­ing peo­ple out of af­fected ar­eas by he­li­copter.

‘‘It takes a while to get up to that sort of stuff,’’ he said to Ra­dio Live.

McCaw said it was busy fly­ing in the area. ‘‘The big thing is you’re think­ing about look­ing af­ter fire, but then you’ve got to look af­ter your­self too, and then cir­cuits. So yeah, there’s a lot of chat­ter, but the guys are all pretty good at what they’re do­ing,’’ he said.

McCaw praised the ef­forts of the other pi­lots who were do­ing some ‘‘pretty tricky stuff’’ with the mon­soon buck­ets among power lines and zip-line ca­bles.

He said he ex­pected the he­li­copters would be there ‘‘right un­til the end’’.

PHOTO: DAVID WALKER

Richie McCaw has been pro­vid­ing ground crew sup­port for the he­li­copters fight­ing the fires, and fly­ing around peo­ple map­ping the fire.

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