Tall Timber

Jacks the Man

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks, it seems.


Take Jack McCuish, an old-time logger who spent a good part of his 45 years in the bush on the end of a chainsaw, falling trees manually.


Never set foot inside an excavator until he was almost 60. And within a couple of years he was on the other end of a winch-assist and harvesting trees on some pretty steep slopes like he’d been born to it.


Not so much Jack the Lad, more like Jack’s the Man!


He’s a bit of a legend in Nelson Forests and just a couple of weeks before retiring from full-time logging at the age of 71, Jack again showed his pedigree and why so many of his colleagues look up to him.


As he completed falling a line of trees in his Hitachi 290 harvester, unhitching from the tether and driving down to a more level section to continue cutting, he spotted flames coming from the rear of the machine.


Ross Holloway, 2IC with the Moutere 1 crew picks up the story: “I was on the backline and the next thing I heard him call up saying ‘I’ve got a fire in the digger’. We asked him to repeat it and he said ‘fire in the digger’.


“He took it out away from trees and then called up ‘bring more extinguishers down’. Everyone stopped what they were doing and ran to the edge and then grabbed extinguishers to go down and help fight the fire.


“Jack had used both of his extinguishers to control the fire until the other crew members got down there with extinguishers and 40 litres of water. It took six extinguishers in the end to put the fire out.


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