Ladder fuel

n. Fuel that provides vertical continuity between surface fuel and canopy fuel strata, increasing the likelihood that fire will carry from surface fuel into the crowns of shrubs and trees (NWCG 2005).

 

  • Discussion

 

Ladder fuel typically consists of shrubs and small trees growing under the canopy fuel stratum. When the canopy is composed of pines, such ladder fuel may become draped with fallen needles, making it even more likely to transfer fire between strata.  Ignition of ladder fuel can help initiate and sustain crown fire activity (NWCG 2005).