August 23, 2019

Image Processing Experiments for Fire Plume Detection via Fixed HPWREN Cameras

This summary describes an exploratory HPWREN activity with its collaborators while not being a mainstream part of the project with dedicated resources. Continuation depends somewhat at the level of interest this generates.


Since HPWREN started to deploy cameras at its backbone sites in 2002 for persistent environmental observations (http://hpwren.ucsd.edu/cameras/), it had been approached numerous times about concepts and technologies for automated fire plume detection. For varieties of reasons this has not yet resulted in a broad technology adaptation, with one of the main reasons often being an expectation of continuous and inefficient video streams from the cameras being sent across a multi-purpose network to centralized servers.

Published April 24, 2019 by SDSC

UC San Diego’s HPWREN Workshop Attracts First Responders, Scientists, Educators

Firefighters Discuss Live Streaming Video from “Virtual Fire Towers”

By Kimberly Mann Bruch, SDSC Communications


On August 6, 2018, first responders received a 911 call reporting a fire. A quick check of a set of recently deployed fixed field of view cameras confirmed the presence of smoke, immediately followed by pointing the new ALERTWildfire PTZ cameras on Santiago Peak to confirm the fire’s location within the Cleveland National Forest and its significant potential for major destruction. Notifications were sent to the applicable agencies.

April 17, 2019

HPWREN Reflections by a Future Scientist

The following article was written by 12 year old Rachel Donahue, a 6th grade student at Double Peak K-8 school in San Elijo, and granddaughter of HPWREN staff member Greg Hidley. A separate article with the meeting presentations should be available soon.


On April 4, 2019, my grandpa invited me to his HPWREN users meeting. HPWREN is a microwave linked camera system that sends and collects data to many organizations. As a young viewer, I was most interested in how HPWREN helped Caltech Palomar Observatory and the California Wolf Center.

I was most interested in the Palomar Observatory because I would like to be an astronomer when I grow up. I learned how the cameras on Mt. Palomar can send and collect data to the California Institute of Technology.

January 31, 2019

2018 HPWREN Accomplishments

2018 was a busy year for HPWREN. This article highlights significant activities undertaken in 2018 and some predictions for 2019 activities.


I. Awards and grants

- CENIC Innovation award given to HPWREN, March 20, 2018

HPWREN and its partners WIFIRE and AlertTahoe jointly shared CENIC's 2018 Innovations Award under the rubric "Technology Projects to Combat California Wildfires". In recognition of work to bring advanced IT and telecommunications to the fight to contain California wildfires, the WIFIRE, HPWREN, and AlertTahoe projects were selected as joint recipients of the CENIC 2018 Innovations in Networking Award for Experimental Applications.

January 8, 2019

2018 Restoration of Big Black Mountain HPWREN and ALERTSDGE Instrumentation and Radio Relay Site

Black Mountain is a summit in the Cleveland National Forest of the Peninsular Ranges in eastern San Diego County, California, north of Ramona. It has been a key observation, relay and meteorological site for HPWREN since its early 2013 installation. The peak is measured at 4,048 feet (1,234 m), and is sometimes referenced as Big Black Mountain to distinguish it from the smaller Rancho Peñasquitos Black Mountain Open Space Park in the city of San Diego (west of I-15). Black Mountain is also home to one of the largest remaining tracts of the threatened Engelmann Oak (Quercus engelmannii).

On January 28, 2018 a significant Santa Ana wind condition impacted San Diego County, and with it came substantial damage at about 10:08 AM to the Big Black Mountain relay site north of Ramona. The relay site supported a link to the HPWREN backbone site on Mount Woodson, and connected a firefighting
agency site.