Tent Stove Safety
Extreme caution should be used at all times when operating a wood stove to prevent a tent fire. All spark arrestors will become clogged with ash and soot.
CHECK YOUR SPARK ARRESTOR DAILY AND CLEAN SPARK ARRESTOR AS REQUIRED. Using soft wood and lower temperature stove burns will cause the spark arrestor to be clogged sooner. A clogged spark arrestor will cause smoke to escape from the stove door intake and when opening the door, and in extreme cases, a stove pipe fire.
CREOSOTE BUILDS UP IN YOUR STOVE PIPE: The more you damper the stove pipe down and/or reduce the air intake on the stove door the more creosote build up you will have in the stove pipe and spark arrestor. If you get too much creosote in the stove pipe you can possibly have a fire in your stove pipe. When breaking camp, remove the creosote in your stove pipe by gently banging the stove pips together to loosen the creosote. It is normal to periodically clean your spark arrestor every 1-3 days.
STOVE PIPE ABOVE RIDGE OF TENT: It is best to have your stove pipe long enough to extend 6 inches or more above the tent ridge. Having the stove pipe above the tent ridge allows the wind coming from any direction to blow sparks away from the tent roof thus reducing the possibility of spark holes being burnt in the roof.
NEVER USE FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS TO START A FIRE IN YOUR STOVE. Position your tent so the stove jack is on the down wind side of prevailing directional winds. If the winds normally blows from the east, the stove jack should be on the west side of the tent so the winds blow sparks away from your tent, which then reduces the possibility of sparks landing on your roof. If you have a synthetic floor such as carpet or vinyl, or a wood or grass floor a fireproof mat under your stove is required. The hottest part of your stove is at the stove bottom where the coals are. You do not want the heat at the bottom of your stove or hot stove legs becoming so hot that it starts a fire below the stove. The mat should extend a minimum of 6 inches out from the stove side legs and stove back legs. The mat should extend a minimum 18 inches to the front of your stove in the event you open the door and a log falls out, or a spark pops out at you.
FLYS will prevent spark embers from burning holes in your tent. Quality flys/tarps that protect your roof will not catch on fire when sparks on it. However, a spark will sometimes cause a small burn hole. I have talked to hunters that have had their tent burn down when they are gone hunting with no idea how the tent caught on fire. My guess would be it was a hot spark that landed on the tent roof without a fly and started the roof on fire, or a spark arrestor became totally clogged from non cleaning and combined with a creosote fire and had flames hooting up the pipe, like you occasionally see in a creosote fire in a house fireplace.