HPWREN began in 2000 at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Jacobs School of Engineering with a US$2.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation.
HPWREN consists of measurement devices placed at backbone nodes on the UCSD and SDSU campuses and scattered in remote areas throughout the county.
Braun points out that HPWREN's work is really about sensor networks and is not exclusively focused on disaster prevention.
The ultimate goal in the San Diego Fire Department's use of HPWREN is to save money and lives.
HPWREN could consider a spin-off company that provides a commercially available wireless notification subscription service for high-danger areas.
Editor's note: For more information on HPWREN and to see time-lapse photography of the October 2003 San Diego fires, go to http://hpwren.ucsd.edu.