April 6, 2006

SDSU Field Station Programs Utilize HPWREN for data communications at their Fallbrook Art of the Flower Festival exhibit

The SDSU Wildfire Alert Education Team (Kelcey Moreno and Spring Strahm) participated in Fallbrook's Art of the Flower Festival on April 2. They were joined by Fallbrook Fire Safe Council's Ali Nusbaum, a Fallbrook resident. The booth featured fire-safe landscaping using native plants. The main message the team focused on was proactive vegetation management and landscaping which provides a buffer zone against fire. Residents should keep the vegetation around their house cleared of all dry material, and use fire-resistant plants within at least 100' of their homes. Making sure that the driveway has at least 10 feet of clearance on each side and 15 feet of vertical clearance is important for allowing fire engine access. The team offered examples of California native plants which are both attractive and fire resistant to local residents, incorporating fire safety and conservation. Examples of such plants include many species of cactus, succulents (for example liveforever, also known as Dudleya), annual flowers (such as Lupine) and shrubs (such as lemonadeberry). A list of local native plant growers was provided. The team exhibited live plants and photos as examples of native plants.

Spring Strahm (left) and Kelcey Moreno and the SDSU exhibit booth at the Fallbrook Art of the Flower Festival

In addition the team also displayed two types of fire sensors, and described how the units worked in conjunction with the HPWREN network. Two laptop stations with real-time Internet access provided up-to-date fire weather information via the wildfirealert.org web page.

Other side of the Fallbrook Art of the Flower Festival exhibit

HPWREN provided Internet connectivity to the SDSU Field Station Programs' booth via an ad-hoc wireless network created using 2.4GHz Ethernet radios. This temporary network was extended ~3.5 miles from an HPWREN main node to a parking lot downtown at the Fallbrook First Baptist Church. Since there was no direct line of site to the booth location from the HPWREN node the church site was used as a battery powered repeater station from where the wireless link was relayed to the exhibit booth on Main Street about 500 feet away. The wireless end-to-end throughput was tested at 2.3 Mbps using Iperf. The deployment team consisted of Bud Hale, Hans-Werner Braun and Pablo Bryant. It took approximately four hours to complete the setup. The radio equipment used was the same equipment that HPWREN has been using over the last few years to extend Internet connectivity to California Department Forestry Incident Command Posts (ICP) throughout San Diego County and into Riverside County.

Two views of the repeater location at the relay site that interconnects the Fair booth with the HPWREN backbone, with great thanks to the Fallbrook First Baptist Church for their permission

Lessons Learned: A new SDSU FSP 20' tripod was successfully used at the repeater station to "see" over the buildings that lined Main Street. The pivoting mast was easy to use with the antennas and radio. Having such an elevation potential turned out to be critical to avoid obstacles.

A poster shown at the exibit shows examples of collaborations with firefighting agencies over recent years
Fire poster

The team also expresses appreciation for the permission from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) for letting us use one of their sites to access the HPWREN backbone during the event.

Pablo Bryant, Research Technology and Spring Strahm, Program Scientist
San Diego State University Field Station Programs
Real time sensor data for SMER can be found at http://fs.sdsu.edu/kf/orb

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