Community Sensors for Wildfire Management

Ohkay Owingeh, NM



Fernando Moreu



The Ohkay Owingeh team implemented LEWIS, a program to train Native American Pueblo communities to build and deploy a sensor network to assist in wildfire management and early warnings.


The combined impacts of wildfires and subsequent post-wildfire floods have changed the lives and landscapes of New Mexico’s Native American Communities over the past 20 years.


Research partners:

  • University of New Mexico

Civic Partners:

  • Ohkay Owingeh Administration
  • High Water Mark Co.
  • Stantec Co.
  • Bohannan Huston Inc.
  • New Mexico Department of Transportation 


Native American communities, national and state agencies, university researchers, and other stakeholders have all stepped up to contribute to recovery efforts. Beyond recovery, the LEWIS (Low-Cost Efficient Wireless Intelligent Sensors) team also initiated the process of fundamentally changing the approach to building resilient communities and landscapes by learning from Pueblo partners. Specifically, Pueblo communities indicated that they can benefit from building and designing their own sensor networks, as opposed to using commercial off-the-shelf sensors. This paradigm shift empowered the community as the sensor builder and ultimately presented a new approach to enhancing community resilience, where sensor solutions are designed and built by the community.


  • Ohkay Owingeh blessed all activities conducted with the research team, HWM, the community and the land.
  • More than 63 site visits with up to four interns from Ohkay Owingeh selecting locations, sensors and information of value to Ohkay Owingeh.
  • 57 sensors connected to eight different networks within Ohkay Owingeh.
  • The Governor, Force Enforcement, Emergency Leaders informed the emergency use of data. 
  • Four interns from Ohkay Owingeh lead and directed the sensor deployments.
  • More than six outreach activities included Ohkay Owingeh interns teaching co-design of sensors to youth in New Mexico.
  • More than 150 students.
  • Approximately 80 low-cost sensors built.
  • 80 new sonar and rain sensors (10 new locations) to be located outside of Ohkay Owingeh.