Scarborough Bluffs rescue incidents tying up valuable resources, city says

City and fire officials warn visitors to the Scarborough Bluffs to mind fences and signs and keep out from the bluff's dangerous edge. Firefighters say rescues require a lot of resources and equipment.

Fire officials are warning visitors to the bluffs to enjoy the view from a distance

Climbing the bluffs is dangerous and rescue missions are a drain on resources, the City of Toronto said Tuesday. (CBC)

The City of Toronto is warning visitors to the Scarborough Bluffs to enjoy them from a safe distance.

In a tweet Tuesday, the city said rescue incidents, "require a significant number of resources that can't be deployed to other emergencies."

"Mind the signs/fencing when admiring the bluffs. Crossing into restricted areas/climbing the bluffs is dangerous and illegal," the tweet said. 

An infographic attached to the tweet pointed out that in 2018, there were 16 rescue incidents during which 413 Toronto Fire Services staff and 123 vehicles were dispatched.

Last year's rescues used 382 hours of staff time, according to the infographic. 

Firefighters say rescues are resource-intensive

Fire Chief Matthew Pegg warned visitors in a tweet Sunday to see the bluffs "from a distance" after resources were deployed to another rescue at the bluffs that evening.

"Once again, @Toronto_Fire is deploying rescuers on high angle ropes to rescue people from the Scarborough bluffs. @TorontoPolice @TorontoMedics on scene as well. The bluffs are a beautiful place to see — from a safe distance," Pegg said. 

Rescues require extensive preparation and safety procedures, and a lot of moving parts, said Graham Weston, a firefighter with Toronto Fire Station 225.

 "It takes a lot of people to do it safely and properly," said Weston. 

Graham Weston, a Toronto firefighter, says rescues along the bluffs are risky for everyone involved, including firefighters. (Doug Husby/CBC)

"For some people having some fun, it does put a lot of people at risk, including the firefighters."

The City of Toronto's website reminds visitors to the bluffs to mind the signs and fences, and stay away from the bluffs' edge.

"It's frustrating, especially now that they've put up a whole lot of signage along the bluffs. It still happens," said Weston.