Cooling center operations extended as heat wave and wildfires continue

Library Page Cynthia Brennan, left, maintains distance as she helps Steve Reeves as he logs in to the Library WiFi in the cooling center at the Stevenson Ranch Library in Stevenson Ranch on Wednesday, August 19, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Santa Clarita Valley residents have a place to cool off locally as California endures continued, historic temperatures and hundreds of wildfires still raging across the state, officials said Wednesday. 

The cooling center at Stevenson Ranch Library, located at 25950 The Old Road, has extended its operations through Friday from noon to 6 p.m., according to library supervisor Lila Holmes. 

“We’ve already seen a handful come in every day,” she said of the cooling center, which opened Aug. 14 and initially scheduled to close Sunday. On Wednesday, approximately five people had stopped by, she added. 

The library is currently the only cooling center open and should a need arise, the county would work with the city of Santa Clarita for an additional location, according to city Communications Manager Carrie Lujan. To obtain a list of all locations, visit or call 211. 

The SCV location was among six other facilities across Los Angeles County that opened or extended operations as triple-digit temperatures continued through the week and are expected to last into the following week. 

Access to these cooling centers comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the heat wave has added pressure on the state’s energy grid that led to rolling blackouts Friday and Saturday. 

He said Wednesday night would be the last night of the statewide Flex Alert and urged residents to limit energy usage from 2 to 9 p.m. to help prevent service interruptions. 

“So, tonight we believe in the immediate (future) is the last night we really need everybody to do everything in their power to flex their power use consumption,” Newsom said, adding that he expected to see more than 47,000 megawatts of power Wednesday, about 45,000 on Thursday and 43,000 on Friday. 

The governor said Monday that the state did not successfully prepare for the heat wave and blackouts. “We failed to predict and plan for these shortages and that is unacceptable.” 

On Wednesday, Newsom highlighted that the state has issued a heat emergency proclamation to shift energy consumption and an executive order that allows energy users and utilities to use backup energy sources to relieve pressure on the power grid, and began an investigation into the blackouts and implications for the future. 

The governor also said “this fire season has been very active,” with 367 wildfires burning in California, including the Lake Fire in the Lake Hughes area and the Holser Fire in Ventura County. Of that total, 23 are considered major incidents. Newsom said. “We are in a better state of preparedness,” he said, citing hiring hundreds of hand crews and firefighters.  

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