Officials with Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs’ office announced on Aug. 11 that a State of Emergency has been declared due to the historic heat wave parts of the state experienced this summer.
The purpose of the State of Emergency, according to a statement, is to support local heat efforts.
“Extreme heat threatens our health. It can lead to illness, emergency room visits, and even loss of life,” said Gov. Hobbs, in the statement. “Arizonans deserve action. I’ll use every resource at my disposal to help keep Arizonans safe as we recover from the heat wave and prepare for future events to ensure our state has the tools to continue growing and thriving.”
According to the emergency declaration, $200,000 will be made available to the Director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management, due to heat-related exposure in Coconino, Maricopa and Pinal Counties from June 30 to July 30, 2023.
In addition, Gov. Hobbs issued an Executive Order that includes:
- The opening of two new cooling centers and heat relief facilities on the ground of the Capitol Mall
- Formalize and centralize networks for cooling centers and heat relief coordination around Arizona
- Propose policy changes and legislative proposals to build future heat resiliency
- Identify resource needs across Arizona, as well as potential sources of funds to address those needs
- Identify ways to ensure Arizona is receiving sufficient Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) dollars, and that those dollars are being used efficiently and effectively
The historic heat began blasting the region in June. Phoenix and its suburbs sweltered more and longer than most, with several records including the 31 consecutive days of 110 degrees Fahrenheit-plus (43.4 degrees Celsius) weather. The previous record was 18 straight days, set in 1974. In addition, 33 confirmed heat-related deaths have been reported in three Arizona counties.
“We know that the heat is increasing year after year. We have data to support that,” said Cleo Warner, Human Services Planner with the Maricopa Association of Governments. “We know that the need increases every year, and the resources we need in the community. Those added resources will be very needed, and will go to good use.”