Had a bit of excitement this morning. No apparent permanent damage, though I’ll know more before I light the woodstove again. My neighbor D is coming this afternoon to help me take the whole thing apart, inspect and clean it. Creosote logs, it seems, are not a reliable preventative.
Right now I’m in adrenaline dump, and shivering with cold for the first time all winter, and glad I’m not hosing down the ashes of my cabin.
UPDATE: Okay, I’m calmer and warmer now. Woke rather late, the fire had burned completely out overnight, it was chilly, and I quickly lit as big a fire as the firebox will support. Big Woolly, you are correct in surmising that normally my chimney doesn’t get as hot as the Lehman’s thermometer says it should – with a big eight-inch chimney on top of my stove’s little firebox, it’s hard to heat things up to the recommended level – though this morning it was well in the “TOO HOT!” range.
Anyway, I lit the fire and was waiting for my coffee water to heat up when I noticed Click the Cat staring at the ceiling with great interest. It’s possible she saved the cabin. I followed her gaze and saw smoke coming off the stovepipe, up near the ceiling box. I looked at the chimney thermometer and its indicator was visibly moving.
I shooed the animals outdoors, opened the firebox, and started carrying burning logs outdoors with the fire tongs and tossing them in the fire barrel. By the time I carried out the last one, smoke was starting to come off the roof at the base of the chimney and I was entering what pilots call a “damage acceptable” situation. That’s when I put out the fire in the firebox with my expensive extinguisher, knowing this might not stop the chimney fire. Then I closed off every air inlet to the firebox, and that did put it out.
I just got back from putting the boys in Gitmo for safekeeping and getting the big ladder from M’s Dome. I’ve got to inspect the roof when we clean out the chimney this afternoon, but as far as I can tell from below there’s no damage. Fortunately we took every precaution in putting the stovepipe through the roof.
Fire scares me. It’s going to be a while before I trust this system again, because nothing out of the ordinary happened this morning – except that the Secret Lair almost burned down.