Well, the people came to check on my chimney and look at the possibility of putting in a wood-burning stove. As I thought, there was creosote in there, and they suggest not using the fire place until it gets cleaned. (Turns out that today was a check-in, and not a cleaning.)
Hopefully I will be able to get a wood-burning stove, since such a stove would allow me to use the plentiful amount of wood surrounding me and take off the burden from the gas furnace which is not the most efficient way of heating this place.
However, due to the relatively slow turnaround on payment from the University of Michigan, this might take a little while to pass through (assuming that the powers-that-be agree that this is a good thing to do).