OK, have been experimenting today to try to get the temps up. Loading with smaller splits and more of them and then turning the draft way down per WS instructions. First load went OK, got up to 460. Loaded up for the night with a large split in back and small and medium splits in front with firebox about 2/3rds or so filled. Turned her way down (but not all the way) and she went black, which WS said was OK. Glanced at the stove top temps occasionally and turned up the draft a bit as the stove top temp wasn't climbing, but got distracted by other things and didn't glance as much as I should have. Suddenly, I hear a muffled, but loud pouf. Ran to the stove and gave her some air figuring that it was a backpuff, then backed it down to 0 as the stove went nuclear. Stove top temp up to 570 :bug:. Brought the air back down to 0, as WS said to do in the event of an overfire. Temps are slowly starting to come down, now at 540. I know this isn't an overfire, but I was scared that the temps would keep climbing. I've never been over 480 before. So, on the one hand, I finally did get the temps up, but on the other hand, the stove let out a serious belch, I think. My air purifier in the next room is going ballistic (it senses air dirtiness and responds accordingly), so I must have gotten a fair amount of smoke in the air with that belch. Funny, the air purifier in the same room isn't bothered at all. The smoke detectors didn't sound off, either. Now the air is at 0 and the fire is actually quite nice, calm, but steady. The stove top temp continues to fall, now 520. So, what happened? Did it get too little air causing a build up of gases and then a backfire which then sent everything nuclear? Or did it get going too much and something (what????) popped? If it was too little air, why is it now responding so nicely to the 0 setting? Don't know which level is higher - my confusion or my panic. I'm still shaking. Any thoughts as to what might have happened would be appreciated.