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