MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - The Manitou Springs Fire Department is pleading with hikers to better prepare for the Manitou Incline after an increase in serious and life-threatening medical calls in recent days, with several dehydrated people needing help getting down.

Firefighters are asking hikers to prepare for the strenuous trek and "really think carefully" before they attempt it. The legendary climb has a section at a 68 percent grade, but even the average grade is more than 40 percent.

The Gazette reports that first responders were called to the Manitou Incline five times over the long weekend. They attribute the increased calls to hot weather and tourists who are unprepared for such a strenuous climb at altitude.

A rescue on the Incline can take three to eight hours, depending on the injury and location, tying up resources of the Fire Department and El Paso County Search and Rescue, according to a post on the department's Facebook page.

Information from: The Gazette,