PHOENIX - The summer heat is fast approaching with triple digits well on their way and with that comes yet another warning from Phoenix Fire officials to hike safely.
In 2021, there were nearly 240 mountain rescues in the Phoenix area. Firefighters are hoping to bring that number down this year by reminding everyone to be prepared.
Piestewa Peak is one of the mountains of concern for fire crews in Phoenix. They call this a double black diamond, if you relate it to skiing, because of the degrees of difficulties, and they say this is what a lot of visitors coming to Phoenix don't realize, especially when you mix in the heat.
Mountain rescues are what Phoenix Fire's tactical response team is hoping to avoid in the coming months.
"We want you to enjoy our hiking trails, but we need you to be safe," Phoenix Fire Captain Rob McDade said.
Rescues have become common during the summer as locals and tourists head up the trails on Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak in triple-digit temperatures. The rescues put a strain on fire crews.
"We cannot ask our firefighters to go up those mountains on a hot July day and rescue you and expect them to run calls," McDade said.
To avoid that strain and minimize dangers to hikers, first responders offer tips to know going forward.
"Margaritas are great here in Phoenix, but let's not do four or five of them the night before. Let's not start the day with coffee, it is a diuretic," McDade said.
On top of that, wearing the proper gear is important, like footwear, hats and sunglasses. It's also advised to carry a phone and always hike with someone.
"It is still a successful hike if you go one quarter, halfway up. Know your limitations," McDade said.
Last year the city of Phoenix pilot program that shut down trails like Camelback and Piestewa on extreme heat days was a big success saving many resources.
They will be continuing that this year.