Ground fuels in aspen forests of central Alberta even after considerable periods of dry weather are moist and do not easily ignite, nor sustain combustion. It was hypothesized that low flammability of aspen ground fuels is significantly affected by capillary soil water flow from underlying inorganic soils. Paired measures of litter moisture content and soil water content were obtained using fiberglass moisture units installed above and below the soil-litter interface. Desorption curves for litter and soil were also constructed. Analysis of data showed soil water contents were usually greater than the litter humus layer, and soil water potentials were greater than those of litter. Results supported the hypothesis but further work is needed to assess the evaporative fluxes under different canopy conditions. © by the Society of American Foresters. Abstract reproduced by permission.