In the early moments of the Bedrock and Salmon fires, George Jenkins of the Willamette National Forest realized the need to keep his crews connected to data and information, disseminate important updates on the fires as well as to keep the firefighting teams connected to family and friends. Jenkins reached out to Garrett Stembridge from DFN for help.
Stembridge and the DFN team sprang into action. The DFN team immediately assessed the situation and learned there was fiber internet close. However, to get the fire camp connected quickly, a series of small miracles would need to occur. Stembridge advised Jenkins that it could take some time to get there because of the length of the build as well as getting the necessary joint use permits from the local power company (EPUD – Emerald People’s Utility District). This did not deter the DFN team.
Upon advising the various department heads of the challenge before them, DFN team member Adam Hooper immediately headed straight from Roseburg to the fire camp to survey the utility poles that would need to be attached to and to get additional details about where/how we would be installing our fiber. Rick Brammer immediately got on the phone with a representative at EPUD and let him know of the situation and that we would be submitting permits to attach to several of their utility poles. The EPUD team also immediately sprang into action – recognizing the importance of the situation and sent out personnel to meet with Hooper on-site at the fire camp. Together, they went over the build and EPUD expedited the permits to allow us to start attaching fiber to their poles immediately.
The original request came in on a Monday and by Tuesday afternoon, the DFN team had built 9000′ of line, spliced and installed the needed technology and lit the fiber optic network that would deliver the connectivity to the fire camp.
Special thanks to the EPUD for coordinating with us on the important work.