AZ Heat Resilience Workgroup

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AZ Heat Resilience Workgroup

One death is too many and every heat death is preventable. Heat is a chronic environmental and health challenge for Arizona residents and communities. Often overlooked as an everyday occurrence during the summer months, extreme heat poses threats to everyone and can be fatal. It is particularly detrimental for vulnerable populations, including the homeless, elderly, communities of color, and those in low-income areas.

In 2022, Maricopa County (AZ) experienced 425 heat-associated deaths, an increase of 25% over the previous year, which marked an all-time high since the Maricopa County Department of Public Health began tracking heat deaths in 2006. Heat-related deaths have risen to new record highs in the county each year since 2016, and statewide numbers reflect a similar pattern. Concerns further increased in 2020 with healthcare and social support systems severely strained by the global pandemic. Long-term projections of continued warming pose further risks to public health.

Many Arizona nonprofit organizations, cities, counties, state agencies, and researchers provide cooling services to those in need, research the effects of extreme heat, and work to develop and implement equitable service and policy solutions. Only through a collaborative approach can Arizona reduce heat-related deaths and provide better cooling policies and programs.

Workgroup purpose

The AZ Heat Resilience Workgroup meets to convene stakeholder organizations from around Arizona in an effort to monitor heat forecasts/warnings from the National Weather Service, share best practices relating to heat response and relief, and to encourage collaboration, coordination, and development of novel responses to preparedness and resilience to extreme heat.


Cooling Centers Subgroup

This subgroup meets to discuss coordination and challenges of cooling centers, logistics, COVID-19 protocols, etc.

Workgroup meetings

During the heat season, May through September, the AZ Heat Resilience Workgroup meets on the first and third Thursdays of the month at 3:00 p.m. via Zoom. During the off-season, from October through April, the AZ Heat Resilience Workgroup meets the first Thursday of the month at 3:00 p.m. via Zoom. See the Calendar for upcoming meeting dates and additional details.

Membership is open to all that are working towards heat mitigation and adaptation in Maricopa County, Arizona, and at the national scale. To be added to the meeting email list, please fill out and submit the form on the bottom of the page.

Workgroup steering committee

  • David Hondula, Director, City of Phoenix Office of Heat Response & Mitigation; Associate Professor, ASU School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning
  • Melissa Guardaro, Assistant Research Professor, ASU Julie Ann Wrigley Institute of Sustainability; Knowledge Exchange for Resilience (KER)
  • Anne Reichman, Director, ASU Sustainable Cities Network & Project Cities Program
  • Michelle Litwin, Heat Response Program Manager, City of Phoenix Office of Heat Response & Mitigation
  • Ladd Keith, Assistant Professor, University of Arizona School of Landscape Architecture and Planning, Faculty Research Associate, Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy
  • Carissa Fowler, Heat Mitigation and Resilience Specialist, City of Tempe
  • Tom Frieders, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Weather Service
  • Mary Wright, Built Environment Specialist, City of Phoenix Office of Heat Response & Mitigation
  • Julia Marturano, Heat Resilience Project Management Assistant, City of Phoenix Office of Heat Response & Mitigation
  • Malini Roy, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Arizona College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture

Information and resources

Community Resources Links

Heat is Hot News

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