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

Multi-vehicle crash shuts down eastbound lanes of Highway 1 at Annis Road in Chilliwack

Everyone asked to take detour at Annis Road and expect delays

First rainstorm of the season pelting the Lower Mainland

Batten down the hatches as heavy rains, wind, and some localized flooding possible

Man wanted by Abbotsford Police for domestic assault

Morgan Knull, 27, has multiple prior convictions

Irish folk supergroup Kíla set to perform on Saturday

Online concert will be available through Harrison Festival Society

Mission woman a part of new Hero Cups

Cheyenne Schulz has been working at Tim Hortons for years while also working as an outreach worker.

Liberals vow wage-subsidy extension to 2021, revamp of EI system in throne speech

Canadian labour market was hammered by pandemic, when lockdowns in the spring led to a loss of 3 million jobs

Horgan blasts B.C. Greens for refusing youth overdose detention

Lack of support key to B.C. election call, NDP leader says

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

Abbotsford youth launches mental health awareness page

Abby Senior student Mia Skoone aims to provide information with @mentalhealth4youth account

RCMP investigating man reportedly hiking nude on Summerland’s Full Frontal trail

Potential charges against the man could include indecent exposure.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Grand jury indicts police officer in Breonna Taylor death

Officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Most Read