The wood is charred, covered in inky scales. New cracks ran rampant through the scars of old flames. Rumor has it, somewhere deep inside, the fire still smoulder in his blackened heart. Ghosts of smoke are sometimes seen, or dreamt, or are mistaken with fog.
The wounded tree himself grows tired of the suspicion. He survived the lightning strike by some impossible means, and now he needs to rest and to heal, not reassure his neighbors the fire is out. Besides, if he wants to keep a lick or two of the fire that forged him, what business is it of theirs?