Richie McCaw battles Canterbury blaze from the skies

Rugby legend Richie McCaw spent part of his Christmas Day fighting fires, after a scrub fire erupted in north Canterbury.

The blaze started in a hedge on Monday and quickly burned out of control, engulfing around 100 hectares on Bealey Rd, Hororata.

A shed was destroyed and several families had to be evacuated from their homes due to the fire.

Five helicopters fought the fire, including one piloted by Richie, while 20 fire engines also battled the blaze.

Former Black Stick Gemma McCaw, Richie's wife, shared a photo of McCaw dressed in his red suit next to his helicopter.

"Merry Christmas from Mr and Mrs McClaus," she wrote.

"Santa was out fighting fires but arrived home in time for tea."

The fire has since been contained.