Improvements are just about wrapped up on the Diamond Bar helicopter landing site-- or helipad-- and city and fire officials want you to know what a valuable resource the location serves for the Diamond Bar and Walnut communities.
Helispot 120 in Diamond Bar is located just above Pantera Park, next to the water tanks off of Eastgate Drive, and has been undergoing a series of maintenance improvements which include:
- re-grading and compaction of the site
- the repair of eroded areas
- the improvement of drainage channels
- the installation of native plantings for slope stabilization
David Stone, Assistant Fire Chief for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, said in a city-sponsored video that there are a total of only five helispots located in the region, strategically located to fight wildfires in the area.
"The helispot here is a strategic location because anywhere within Diamond Bar and Walnut, we can use those three [1,000 gallon] helicopters to either be dropping on the fire, returning to the helispot or loading water," Stone said.
There are nine helicopters in the LAFD's fleet-- three of which are called "type one" helicopters that can drop 1,000 gallons of water from their tanks, he said.
"On a wildfire, with helicopters, turn around time is a vital part of putting the fire out," Stone said, adding that turn round time is five minutes. "To be able to accomplish that, we have to fill our helicopters in 60 seconds or less."
Stone said the updated Diamond Bar helispot will be able to handle two helicopters at any given time, and a fuel tank will be brought to the location so that helicopters can refuel every two hours.
While the helispot is "out of service," the department has been using the baseball field at Diamond Ranch High School.
The helipad was first built in 2006, according to the city of Diamond Bar. Other nearby pads are located in Rowland Heights, City of Industry, San Dimas, and Pomona.