Smoke can be seen near the Painted Rock Estate Winery. (Douglas Drouin Photography)

Smoke can be seen near the Painted Rock Estate Winery. (Douglas Drouin Photography)

“We’ll have to see”: Painted Rock Winery’s future uncertain as Okanagan wildfire rages

Owner John Skinner said they’re taking it day by day

“I haven’t done this before and it’s exceptionally stressful.”

That’s what Painted Rock Estate Winery owner John Skinner had to say as the Christie Mountain fire continues to rage nearby.

He said the work and the speed with which the B.C. Wildfire Service and various fire departments responded to the blaze was impressive, but he and his wife are taking it day by day when it comes to the future of the winery.

Skinner said he saw the fire spark at 2 p.m. on Tuesday (Aug. 18) as he was standing on the front lawn of the tasting room.

“I saw the smoke down towards Heritage Hills, and we’re five kilometres north, but within two hours, those planes were at the ridge above our winery fighting the fire,” he said.

“That was frightening. And given that experience and seeing how fast the fire is, I’m not making any assumptions about the winery right now.”

He said fire crews have been on the ground near the property trying to protect it and dousing smaller fires nearby and that fire retardant had been sprayed in the surrounding area as well.

“A lot of the smoke and flames were moving down Gillis Creek towards us and it was very frightening, and they dealt with it all. And most of that has been pushed at least a kilometre behind us now.”

With the forecasted high winds tomorrow (Aug. 21), Skinner said they’re not sure what to expect.

“I think we’re reasonably well-protected, but honestly, we’ll have to see what happens tomorrow,” he said.

“Crews have done a really good job up until this minute and I’m really impressed with how their talent and ability, but we’re gonna have to see what happens… let’s just hope nature takes it easy on us tomorrow.”

Fortunately, Skinner and his family don’t live in the area and didn’t have to worry about evacuating personal belongings, but still, their business remains at the fire’s edge.

“We bear witness to the fire when we go to the winery to assess the situation and it’s been quite an experience.”

READ: Air quality advisory issued for South Okanagan


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

bc wildfires

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

Nikita, a four-year-old German Shepherd that was attacked by a buck in a backyard in Esquimalt Sunday is lucky the injury wasn't more severe. (Photo contributed by Suzette Goldsworthy)
Esquimalt dog owner issues alert after deer injures German shepherd

Nikita needed stitches after an early morning encounter

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest man covered in blood on heels of significant Saanich crash into woods

Resident calls in home invasion in progress after crash

BC Transit is investigating a ‘rapid bus’ action plan for Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Transit launches investigation after passenger fall from upper deck

A passenger went to hospital after a fall from the upper deck

The Victoria Police Department headquarters. (Black Press Media file photo)
Investigation launched into man’s death after arrest in Victoria

IIO investigation to determine if police actions or inaction played a role in the man’s death

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Most Read