All Black legend Richie McCaw gave up part of Christmas Day to do his bit to help fight a large fire which flared up in Canterbury.

A huge blaze near the town of Hororata this afternoon saw more than 20 fire trucks and five helicopters battling the flames - in control of one of those helicopters was McCaw.

Homes in the area were evacuated but only one shed and a number of hedges were lost to the fire.

McCaw's wife, former Blackstick Gemma Flynn, this afternoon posted a photo of the two of them and McCaw's niece Chloe beside a helicopter on Instagram saying, "Merry Christmas from Mr & Mrs McClaus. Santa was out fighting fires but arrived home in time for tea."

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Around 5pm southern fire communications confirmed the blaze was contained. However, crews would remain at the scene for some time to ensure flames didn't flare up again.

"No homes have been lost, and we hope to return people back to their homes shortly," the Fire Service said in a tweet. "Firefighters will keep working to keep the fire contained as winds change."

Fires flare up in Canterbury again today. Video/Broadcast Media

A police spokeswoman earlier said houses on Derretts, Substation and Bealey Roads were evacuated.

Haldon Rd was cordoned at Coaltrack Rd and people were being asked to avoid the area.

McCaw has put his flying skills to good use before helping douse the flames during the Port Hills fire earlier this year and helping with avalanche control in Porters Ski Area near Christchurch.