Volunteers Bring Back Wi-Fi, Cell Phone Service To Fire-Ravaged McKenzie River Corridor

Oct 15, 2020

The Holiday Farm Fire thrashed telecommunications all across the McKenzie River Corridor, robbing residents of wi-fi and cell phone service. But a special effort has temporarily restored those essential needs.

Telecommunications were restored thanks to a site set up by volunteers, including at Castle Rock south of Rainbow, Oregon.
Credit Photo provided by Adam Johnson.

A band of volunteers with the group, Oregon Internet Response, donated time, equipment, and other resources to establish a wireless network for affected areas recently.

One volunteer is Adam Johnson. He recalls setting up a site near Rainbow, which required ten people to hike a mile in during harsh conditions. 

The remnants of raised garden beds at a burned home between Blue River and rainbow.
Credit Photo provided by Adam Johnson.

“We hauled up radios, an enclosure, a set of batteries, big car batteries, built a solar array up there," Johnson told KLCC.  "And (laughs) coincidentally enough it was 43 degrees and raining sideways, the whole time but we were able to accomplish it and we were extremely excited.” 

Johnson says the plan is to keep cell phone and wi-fi services established until the regular providers come back and permanently restore their infrastructure. He says that could take up to a year.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.