|Kidsfirst Cashmere kindergarten was closed for a few days due to the evacuation of Cashmere Hills residents, caught up in the Port Hills summer wildfires.|
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The welfare of our children and families is paramount at Kidsfirst Kindergarten's. It was with safety in mind that it was decided to close Kidsfirst Cashmere until the Port Hills fires were under control.
Two Christchurch Primary schools were also forced to close (Cashmere and Governors Bay), with over 1000 people evacuated from 450 hillside homes at risk of being engulfed and road closures and power outages effecting many.
As thick plumes of smoke and ash continued to billow over Christchurch’s hill backdrop, sixteen helicopters, two aeroplanes and over one hundred and twenty firefighters were bravely fighting to keep the blaze at bay from the city’s residential fringes.
In the days leading up to Kidsfirst Cashmere’s closure tamariki watched intrigued, as these helicopters and airplanes buzzed constantly overhead, hard at work collecting monsoon buckets of water and fire retardant to douse the flames.
“I was relieving at Kidsfirst Cashmere as the Port Hills fires were unfolding,” says Kidsfirst Lincoln Teacher, Helen Smith. “We had lots of conversations with the children about what was happening and also practiced our fire drill, as it had real meaning at this time.”
One child wanted to paint the helicopters, looking up to the sky to see what was needed to add to his picture, as each machine flew past overhead, rotor blades thwacking the air.
“I took a photo of his helicopter, showing all the detail before he covered it in a big smudge of black paint – the smoke,” says Helen. “The other picture (with purple paint) is of a helicopter with two monsoon buckets underneath.”
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