This morning the I.A. came in handy as a 3:30 am wake up was timed just right for cranking up the gas on the kiln so it would be hitting Cone 010 at 6:30 for regular wake-up time. Sure enough 6:30 am saw the first cones starting to soften and bend both top and bottom. Damper in, gassy smell and some flame out the bottom peep and back to bed until the hounds convinced me it was time for their breakfast.
The kiln has changed in the way it fires. It never used to get so warm on the bottom in the first few hours of the firing. One spot in the kiln seems a little more reduced, too, and no manner of burner/orifice cleaning has seemed to do anything. Infrequency of firings keeps me from truly problem solving this as I forgot all about it until this morning seeing that that burner was the only one without nice blue flame (orange).
Also, I had hoped the storm might come in bringing a little moisture but this clear blue sky may bring some turbulence and unevenness as the day progresses. So far so good.