"A. The full extent and impact of the forest fires in Uttarakhand can be assessed only after they have abated with better weather conditions, but the furious blaze that has swept the hill state drives home the truth that governments are yet to find scientific ways to tackle the phenomenon. B. Some of the studies reported by organizations affiliated to the Union Environment Ministry point to the effective intervention of communityled `van panchayats’ (forest councils in preventing fires. C. Progress can be made also by providing environmental education to local residents and officials. D. Significantly, the use of biomass alternatives, including cooking gas, has had a beneficial impact on fire risk, and this must be expanded. E. The Uttarakhand Government should learn from the severity of the experience, and involve its large rural communities in preparing for the future. F. It is possible that the changing patterns of climate may be exacerbating the problem; more research is required to conclude whether the El Nino that set in last year, marked by a lack of premonsoon showers, also played a part in intensifying the fires."