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In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the term “hollow tree fire“ was first used in a publication in 1956 without being well defined and was then uncritically used in other publications. The term refers to fires occurring in the rotted, inner trunks of trees. The main aim of the current study was to determine whether the term should be considered a useful category for the statistical analysis of forest fires. The nature and causes of fires from 2006–2015 were assessed by performing a detailed analysis of the Fire Rescue Service of the Czech Republic (FRS CR) database. The database included a total of 7,256 fires in the natural environment, but only 18 of these were hollow tree fires. Most hollow tree fires were initiated by human carelessness, and only three were initiated by lightning. Based on our critical consideration of fire attributes, hollow tree fires should not be considered a category of forest fire. The presence of rotten trees is, however, a serious problem because such trees represent long-lasting sources of fire in forest stands and because they complicate firefighting. The numbers of rotten trees in forests is increasing, and firefighters should be made aware of the complications of extinguishing fires involving rotten trees in forests.

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Life Sciences, Plant Science, Ecology, other