Preparing for incoming tornado!

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New Member
Oct 17, 2023
Middle TN
Last night the NWS was tracking a ’rotation’ …. Not yet on the ground….. and put the potential track within a couple miles of our house. Thankfully, it never touched down!!!

BUT - I had a nice small fire going in the wood stove. It occurred to me that if we were hit, or lost the roof or chimney, an active fire would be a major hazard!

I was able to separate the remaining logs, covered them with ashes, and they died back to large glowing embers. I got most of those into the ash bucket and carried it out to the driveway just before the rain began. One was too large to fit and I kept it covered with ash, with the air control turned all the way down. This morning there was enough ember left to start it up again.

My Alderlea does not have a damper so there’s no way to completely shut off the air supply to the firebox.

So 2 questions!
1. In case of emergency, is there a way to get those embers to die out without removing them?
2. What should I do if there’s an actively burning fire going? Just opening the door increases the burning intensity.

Thanks for any and all suggestions!
I'm glad it missed you, some were not so lucky. The safest thing when tornado alerts are in the forecast is to not burn. If a tornado hits or is imminent, one should not be fussing with a stove. If that is not possible then burn small fires that are easy to extinguish with sand or wet newspaper in a pinch.
Would capping off the OAK inlet help in this situation?
No, the stove would just run on room air if you capped the oak.
I think mine gets all its air through the intake on the back of the stove that the OAK would connect to. I think, if I were to cap that, it would kill all my air.
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Would capping off the OAK inlet help in this situation?
It depend on the stove. In this case, no. The T6 OAK is not directly ducted to feed the air to the primary and secondary.
Like @begreen said, if the forecast is iffy don’t burn. If a tornado is upon you and there’s a fire going already- I’d focus on keeping you and family safe in general and not think about the stove.
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I’m glad it didn’t touch down!

Ok, just a guess here. I think the fire would stay in the box. If the chimney got ripped off, the stove may not draft and then smoulder naturally. This may give you lots of smoke damage, but I think the cordwood flying around at speed would likely be your immediate concern. If your house was compromised and the stove was moved, well, there’s a tornado moving through your house. Nobody is worried about the stove.

If the stove flipped onto its side or even upside down, I think the baffle would probably do a pretty good job of keeping the fire in the box. It’s a stainless plate. It’s not really going anywhere. The collar is a relatively small hole for anything to fall out of.

The cast iron sides should do a fairly good job of keeping combustibles off the hot steel.

If the stove was thrown or rolled down the street, again, I bet most of the coals would stay in the stove provided the door stayed closed.
IMHO, a large bucket of sand dumped in a firebox will usually knock down a fire quick and not do any damage.
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Tornado alley has shifted east. It’s not in Kansas anymore Toto.

Short version unless you know exactly where the tornado is first priority is fans shelter. Closing the air control is all I would do.

If we get a tornado warning first thing I do is grab my phone and open the radar scope app. And bring up the velocity radar loop. If I’m 9 miles or less from the circulation it’s straight to the basement. Do not pass go! 10-15 miles I might run down a 99 second checklist. And recheck location and to shelter. Moving the air control to full closed might be in that list if I’m really thinking moles. More than 19 miles and not in the path I’m not concerned.

Time spent messing with the stove (other than to close the air control) I consider waisting time getting my self and family to shelter. Where is the $&@# dog!

2 minutes of wind that doesn’t blow the house apart wont damage the stove if the air control is set to low. If the house is gone I want to be safe. It might blow off you me chimney but I don’t think is too terrible.
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Thanks everyone! I so appreciate the input and suggestions. A bucket of sand sounds like something I should have on hand. That would probably be the easiest and quickest thing to do.

We got NO alerts yesterday. In the past, our landline and cell phones have gotten warnings. None of the folks nearby that I’ve spoken with got any sort of warning either. It was a lovely day, with a high of 62 - not the type of weather that has spawned severe weather here in the past.

I had checked the Accuweather app to see whether or not it was going to be cool enough to want a fire that night and had started just 2 small logs as it was still mild out but headed into the upper 30’s. Thankfully I saw a news report of the tornado on the ground in Nashville, and checked the local weather guy on facebook. That’s when I saw that there was a rotation headed our way. It wasn’t on the ground yet!

We’ve been through this a number of times, twice with a similar path as to what was predicted this time. So I had a fair idea of how long I had. Hubby got the dog and cats, and some supplies into the basement while I handled the wood stove. Once I got that bucket out of the house I got down there as well.

Today I ordered a weather alert radio. A friend is going to help me program it - I gave our last one away as I never could get it programmed and it was going off frequently for other areas and problems, constantly waking us up! Hopefully we won’t be caught unawares again. And I’ll be prepared to handle a fire better! Thanks again!
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