EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- With temperatures rising and Covid-19 cases falling, more Borderland residents will be venturing out on local hiking trails. Mountain rescue teams warn these hikes can turn dangerous and costly if you're not prepared.
"We see it a lot in spring and fall," said Lt. David Guzman of the El Paso Fire Department. "The weather can turn out here. You might see some clouds in the distance, by the time two or three hours go by, those clouds are on you."
Guzman is part of El Paso's Mountain Rescue Team - which is a collaboration between the El Paso Fire Department, El Paso Police Department and Texas State Parks Department.
ABC-7 crews were given a behind-the-scenes look at how the team trains. Crews at Aztec Caves Trail practiced faster ways to bring patients down the mountain and how to use drones to spot people who were lost.
Fire officials said the team averages 36 to 40 mountain rescues each year.
"This is one of the only places that open right now," Guzman said, referencing Aztec Caves Trail. "We've had a couple of rescues in the past couple weeks."
Many of these mountain rescues occur due to extreme weather.
"The biggest advice I can give you, if you're down to half of your water, you need to turn back and come back out because that's what it's going to take you to come back out," Guzman said.
Guzman recommended packing a snack too. He also suggested notifying family members where you are going and when you expect to return.
"Usually the accidents come on the way down," Guzman said. "You're tired. You're hungry, thirsty. Your knees, your back, everything starts hurting and you slip on the slippery rocks out here."
Guzman said it is important to stay on the trail.
Even if rescue crews can save you, you will have to foot the bill.
"If you come out here and there's 20 people here, you're probably going to pay for the 20 people that are out here," Guzman said.