Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

The hot Labor Day weekend ahead will increase electricity demand as people flip on their air conditioning and also has fire departments in Santa Barbara County staffing up as the humidity drops and winds rise along the mountains and in the valleys.

The state’s electricity manager — the California Independent System Operator, or ISO — has called for voluntary electricity conservation, especially between 4 and 9 p.m., as the extra power provided by solar arrays start to dwindle. Setting AC units to 78 degrees, turning off unnecessary lights, and avoiding the use of major appliances or charging electric vehicles will help avoid power outages. Pre-cooling the house by setting thermostats to 72 degrees — and using washers, dryers, dishwashers, and cooktops — earlier in the day is also advised.

The county’s fire departments have prepped for wildfire emergencies and stationed strike teams in Gaviota, Goleta, and Santa Barbara starting Wednesday evening in anticipation of temperatures reaching into the 100s, low humidity levels, and sundowner winds breaching 35 miles per hour. Conditions hadn’t reached “red flag” levels but were close, said Captain Scott Safechuck of Santa Barbara County Fire. “This is a good time to pay attention to the weather and your environment,” Safechuck advised, “and to be in a ready state.” Preparations to make ahead of the threat of wildfire can be found at‘s Ready, Set, Go! program.

Coastal Santa Barbara has been a relative oasis from the heat, especially close to the beaches. However, even coastal areas could reach close to 100 degrees on Sunday, the National Weather Service warned today, forecasting Sunday to be the peak of the heat, which should diminish by Wednesday. That being said, nighttime temperatures were still in the 80s and 90s in the mountains and the valleys, and the winds blowing into the 20s and 30s through mountain passes and areas like Tepusquet.

Cooling Centers

A number of cooling centers are open during daytime hours in north and south county, and $3 movies are offered at area theaters on Saturday. More information about the heat wave is at

Buellton Library

  • Open Saturday 11am-4pm
  • Address: 140 West Highway 246, Buellton 93427

Buellton Senior Center

  • Open daily 8am-4pm; please call first to ensure staff are available – 805-688-4571
  • Address: 164 West Highway 246, Buellton 93427
  • All individuals welcome regardless of age

Cuyama Library

  • Open this Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Labor Day) 12pm-5pm.
  • Address: 4689 Highway 166, New Cuyama 93254

Joseph Centeno Aquatics Center

  • Open Sunday and Monday (Labor Day) 11AM-5PM
  • Address: 290 Wasioja St, New Cuyama 93254

Santa Maria Public Library

  • Open Saturday 10am-6pm
  • Address: 421 S McClelland St, Santa Maria 93454

Town Center Mall

  • Open daily 10am-8pm
  • Address: 371 Town Center E, Santa Maria 93454

St. Mark’s-In-The-Valley Church 

  • Open Sat-Sun 11:30am-7:30pm; Mon 11:30am-5:30pm
  • Address: 2901 Nojoqui Ave at Alamo Pintado Ave, Los Olivos 93441

Carpinteria Community Library

  • Open Saturday 9am-5:30pm
  • Address: 5141 Carpinteria Ave, Carpinteria 93013

Goleta Library

  • Open Saturday 10am-5:30pm, and Sunday 1pm-5pm
  • Address: 500 N. Fairview Ave, Goleta 93117


Individuals with a disability or other access or functional need (DAFN) who need transportation to a cooling center, contact 2-1-1 or a paratransit provider near you:

During this heatwave, Easy Lift is offering rides free of charge to/from cooling centers and other heat relief sites such as movie theaters to DAFN individuals. No reservations required, though services are limited. Call for availability.

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