Mar 6, 2024 - News

Arizona names first chief heat officer

A man gives his dog water from a bottle.

Rubin Munguies gives his dog, Petey, water during a heat wave in Tucson last July. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Arizona Department of Health Services doctor Eugene Livar will become the state's first chief heat officer.

Why it matters: Last summer's extreme heat shattered records and led to more than 600 deaths in metro Phoenix alone.

State of play: The position is part of Gov. Katie Hobbs' newly released Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan, which also calls for:

  • Six new mobile cooling centers constructed from shipping containers.
  • Using state-owned buildings as cooling centers.
  • Funding for more overnight heat respite sites.

Zoom in: Livar will coordinate with the state, county health departments, cities, private businesses and nonprofits to execute this summer's heat plan and pursue longer-term solutions.

What they're saying: "What I heard time and again from everyday Arizonans was that our state's old approach was not enough," Hobbs said in a statement.

Flashback: The longest heat wave ever recorded in the Valley kept high temperatures at or above 110 degrees from June 30 to July 30.

What we're watching: This year could be even hotter than 2023, climate scientists told Axios' Andrew Freedman.


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