2020 HPWREN Accomplishments Including One Year Under Covid

April 5, 2021

2020 was a year to remember for HPWREN and everyone else. The first two and a half months were fairly normal with routine maintenance and upkeep to maintain services through the winter months when generally there is little fieldwork. One significant accomplishment was the installation of the SDGE supported San Juan Hills site including ALERTWildfire and HPWREN cameras in January 2020.

March 17, 2020, marked the beginning of the Covid lockdown in California, reducing field work activities to essential activities to keep HPWREN, ASAPNet, and ALERTWildfire cameras functioning, while all personnel sheltered in place at home working remotely. During the following year, HPWREN adapted to each new set of restrictions and requirements while keeping services working and making strategic improvements to the system. In the light of one year under Covid, this somewhat late annual report will cover through the first year of Covid restrictions.

In spite of the challenges, this past year had some major accomplishments. Two of our most challenging sites (Toro Peak and Lyons Peak) were rebuilt. In addition, Los Pinos was also rebuilt, completing the goal of providing more resiliency to the southern part of HPWREN. From a wildfire observation perspective, Cuyamaca Peak, Otay Mountain, San Miguel, and Sagebrush Flats received new and/or upgraded cameras. In partnership with ALERTWildfire and LA City Fire Department, five new ALERTWildfire camera sites were deployed in the Santa Monica Mountains. The newly installed sensors at Cuyamaca Peak and upgraded sensors at Lyons Peak both provided enhanced situational awareness during the Valley Incident that burned in the Cleveland National Forest and CAL FIRE San Diego Unit in September, 2020. This included data provided through new weather sensors, Mobotix Cameras, and the ALERTWildfire Axis cameras.

One of the remarkable attributes of HPWREN is the ability for end users to utilize the data collected through HPWREN to create interesting results. In 2020, Prof. Robert Quimby, Director of the Mt Laguna Observatory, created interesting videos using HPWREN cameras highlighting basic astronomical observations such has how the sun moves over an annual cycle, the motions of planets against the fixed stars, the movement of Comet Neowise, and others.

Overall, 2020 was another busy year for HPWREN. This article highlights significant activities undertaken in 2020 and some predictions for early 2021 activities.

The above automatically collected images via HPWREN cameras show birds in the river at the Tijuana Estuary, and the 2020 Bobcat Fire near the Mt. Wilson Observatory.

I. Awards and grants

II. Public Safety Service Improvements

HPWREN has added new fire cameras, new WiFi capabilities, new fixed wireless links, and various network upgrades to allow for increased bandwidth to our systems from our collaborators. For more specific network upgrade details, see the section below “IT Infrastructure Upgrades, Services and Support”.

III. Public Outreach

The many ways we have reached out to the public this past year include:

IV. IT Infrastructure Upgrades, Services and Support

Infrastructure improvements in 2020 include:

The images show the moon rise over the Salton Sea as seen by a Toro Peak camera and a north pointing camera on Big Black Mountain observing a UFO flyby.

V. Research and Development

HPWREN infrastructure supports a variety of research and education projects and we are always looking for new ways to do things or new capabilities to add. The more significant activities this past year include:

VI. HPWREN 2020 ticket support system summary

2021 Opportunities

Early 2021 new fire camera site installations are anticipated for

Anticipated 2021 Backbone site completions or upgrades

Developments in future generation of camera image fetching technology

Storage development

Fog and clouds north of Santa Ynez Peak near Santa Barbara, and north of Boucher Hill during snowy conditions.