Straight from the Boeing website. In addition, Boeing has received reports of three confirmed cases and other suspected cases in which a wheel/tire assembly exploded when the oxygen in air-filled tires combined with volatile gases given off by a severely overheated tire. In one case, the tire became overheated as a result of a dragging brake, and the wheel/tire assembly exploded when it reached the auto-ignition temperature. In another case, a wheel/tire assembly explosion in the wheel well during flight was suspected in the catastrophic loss of one airplane. A similar explosion caused severe damage to two others. As a result, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued Airworthiness Directive 87-08-09 requiring that only nitrogen be used to inflate airplane tires on braked wheels. However, tires may be topped off with air in remote locations where nitrogen may not be available if the oxygen content in the tire does not exceed 5 percent by volume.