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

New Cumberland fire hall goes to rezoning hearing

Official community plan is also to be amended for the site

Mother bear and two cubs spotted in Crown Isle neighbourhood in Courtenay

Reduce the risk of an interaction by removing potential food sources

Mount Washington to open Dec. 4 with COVID-19 protocols in place

Reservations for some services, face coverings will be required

‘Bad blood’ over pathology issue, says Island Health medical director

Regional hospital district board pushes for pathology service in Courtenay, Campbell River

Suspect robs store, stabs clerk in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for suspect in Ryan Road incident

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Most Read