Efforts to return internet post-Holiday Farm Fire recognized

Lane County Chief Information Officer Michael Finch accepts the Award for Excellence in Telecommunications Projects and Regional Strategies on behalf of Lane County and Oregon Internet Response.

Agencies responsible for returning internet and other telecommunications to the McKenzie River Valley after the Holiday Farm Fire have been recognized for their efforts.

The Lane County Technology Services Department and Oregon Internet Response, a volunteer group of tech professionals, received the Award for Excellence in Telecommunications Projects and Regional Strategies at the annual Oregon Connections Telecommunications Technology Conference in late October.

Rebuilding deep, reliable connectivity: How Blue River is rebuilding internet after fires

Oregon Internet Response formed and collaborated with Lane County Technology Services and Emergency Management to bring telecommunications back to the McKenzie River Valley following the 2020 Holiday Farm Fire, according to a news release. The fire, which burned 174,000 acres, destroyed more than 400 homes and claimed one life, decimated telecommunications equipment throughout much of the river valley. 

Oregon Internet Response volunteers summit Castle Rock on a rainy day in Oregon, carrying hundreds of pounds of electronics to begin assembling a remote internet relay. The engineering and construction process took nearly two months to complete and has reconnected families affected by the Holiday Farm Fire to the internet.

The group brought together multiple resources and partners to create microwave links supplying bandwidth into the fire area, which served emergency, school, medical, business and public connectivity needs while commercial providers conducted repairs.

Michael Finch, Lane County’s Chief Information Officer and leader of the Technology Services Department, accepted the award on behalf of Lane County and OIR. 

“The ability to communicate and access the Internet is absolutely critical in the aftermath of a disaster,” Finch said in the release. “Without this essential work, tasks as simple as pumping gas, checking email or keeping connected with a child’s education during COVID would have been impossible.

================

Source link

Leave a Reply