In a long-term emergency, we would have to adapt to several old technologies all of which would made a house fire more likely. The use of kerosene, wood stoves, charcoal, and other open flame devices create problems that we are not used too.
The incorrect installation of a wood stove is a common cause of fires. One of the problems is that people do not understand pyrophoric action or the chemical decomposition of wood due to the continuous or intermittent application of heat. The normal ignition temperature of wood falls in the area of 400 degrees. After being exposed to a lower heat from outside sources for a prolonged period of time the ignition temperature of the wood lowers. Some studies indicate it can drop to as low as 77C or 171F.
While admittedly this can take some months to years depending on the temperature, why take the risk. It is easy to avoid. Install your stove in compliance with your local fire codes and the manufactures specifications. It you are improvising and using a homemade or older stove for which you have no information, error on the side of safety. Use only noncombustible’s close to the stove. Maintain a good air space between the stove and combustible materials. Don’t forget about wood floors.
Check your chimneys and flues on a regular basis. Buy a chimney sweeps brush and learn how to use it. Remember if you see wood starting to discolor you are too close. Don’t forget metal and other non-combustibles will still transfer heat, think air spaces or enough bulk of non-combustible to dissipate the heat. For instance, set the stove on several inches of bricks or even a box filled with sand.
Michigan State University has a good site with the correct clearances at http://bit.ly/35ZpzD. If you have a wood stove or are planning to install one I recommend you review there site.
I will cover other potential fire causes in the near future.