By Matt Kroschel

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– At the emergency dispatch center, 911 calls flooded in from people who spotted massive flames and smoke plume near Frisco on Wednesday. Actually, those flames are a welcome sight to many.

U.S. Forest Service firefighters are conducting controlled burns in the White River National Forest this week and they say the fires are helping mitigate dangerous wildfire conditions.

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Signs have been posted, warning drivers about the controlled burns. Alerts were sent out to residents, but the sight of burning trees has people on edge, for good reason.

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“The Peak One fire in this same area showed us just how dry and dangerous the fuels are in this area, we got lucky with that fire and I understand people’s concerns right now,” Deputy ranger Adam Bianchi told CBS4 from the fire zone.

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Crews hope to conduct these types of controlled burns through the new year if the weather holds up.

There are 11,000 acres of beetle kill trees that have been brought down and piled up. Crews are removing those piles with the controlled burns.

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Local officials encourage residents to sign up for alerts on your phone to warn of future controlled burns so you are not caught off guard.

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LINK: Summit County Alert

Wildfire Resources

– Visit CBSDenver.com’s Living With Wildfire section.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

– See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile), the deadliest (Storm King) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to mrkroschel@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

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