Tonto Basin, AZ- In the afternoon of Saturday June 13th 2020, a vehicle fire along AZ Route 87 lit off the “Bushfire” one of the largest wildfires in AZ history, burning over 186,000 acres at the time of this post. The close-knit communities of Tonto Basin, Punkin Center, Pioneer Pass, Brownsville, Slate Creek, Jake’s Corner, Sunflower have been evacuated. Recreation areas like Apache Lake, Sugarloaf ,Four Peaks , Lower Sycamore Recreation Area ,The Rolls, Pobrecito , Butcher Jones Recreation Area, Saguaro Del Norte , Saguaro Lake ,The Roosevelt Lake sites along Highway 188 north of Roosevelt Dam have been closed. Rim country communities like Payson & Star Valley have also been impacted with travel times to the Phoenix metro more than doubled by detours around the closed AZ-87 and AZ-188. At this hour Sunflower remains under a “Go” evacuation order while most other communities have returned to “Set” status.
Enter Phoenix Internet, the primary Internet Service Provider of the Tonto Basin/Punkin Center area. When news of the fire broke, our Executive team met with our Network Engineers and got to work. Our first order of business was to reach out to our customers in the region and let them know we were aware of the situation and suspending operations in the area:
As the week went on and the fire spread we continued to keep Phoenix Internet customers updated and online as long as we could. We watched, waited, and worried about our friends and the wonderful communities that we’ve been a part of for over five years. And then it happened: our network in Tonto Basin lost power, and being cutoff by the evacuation we couldn’t get to our sites. With batteries & generators exhausted our network in Tonto Basin went dark.
Early Saturday Morning June 20th, our President was on calls with State, Federal and local officials discussing the firefighting efforts and determining how quickly we could respond.
On Monday Morning June 22nd the trucks rolled. Just check out the pictures below. Despite issues with shipping delays and reaching Mt. Ord on the evening of the 23rd, on June 24th our teams were able to repair our equipment and bring Phoenix Internet back from the ashes! We are online and ready to keep Tonto Basin & Punkin Center connected! If you have questions or need support please call us at (602)234-0917 or click below to order service today!