This paper develops a wireless sensor for online fatigue crack detection and failure warning based on crack-induced nonlinear ultrasonic modulation. The wireless sensor consists of packaged piezoelectric (PZT) module, an excitation/sensing module, a data acquisition/processing module, a wireless communication module, and a power supply module. The packaged PZT and the excitation/sensing module generate ultrasonic waves on a structure and capture the response. Based on nonlinear ultrasonic modulation created by a crack, the data acquisition/processing module periodically performs fatigue crack diagnosis and provides failure warning if a component failure is imminent. The outcomes are transmitted to a base through the wireless communication module where two-levels duty cycling media access control (MAC) is implemented. The uniqueness of the paper lies in that 1) the proposed wireless sensor is developed specifically for online fatigue crack detection and failure warning, 2) failure warning as well as crack diagnosis are provided based on crack-induced nonlinear ultrasonic modulation, 3) event-driven operation of the sensor, considering rare extreme events such as earthquakes, is made possible with a power minimization strategy, and 4) the applicability of the wireless sensor to steel welded members is examined through field and laboratory tests. A fatigue crack on a steel welded specimen was successfully detected when the overall width of the crack was around 30 mu m, and a failure warnings were provided when about 97.6% of the remaining useful fatigue lives were reached. Four wireless sensors were deployed on Yeongjong Grand Bridge in Souht Korea. The wireless sensor consumed 282.95 J for 3 weeks, and the processed results on the sensor were transmitted up to 20 m with over 90% success rate.