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

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

Terrace continues to have a high rate of COVID-19 infections per 100,000 people, according to this map which shows data from Jan. 3 to Jan. 9. (BC Centre for Disease Control)
Terrace, Nisga’a regions continue to have high rate of COVID-19 cases

Two more exposure notices posted for Terrace schools

This concept artwork from July 2020 shows the inland port planned for the former Skeena Cellulose mill site in Terrace. (Image courtesy Hatha Callis, Progressive Ventures Group)
Terrace city council approves inland port OCP amendments

Project still requires zoning bylaw, development permit to continue

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Vancouver Island paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
B.C. photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Most Read