Spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana (Clem.), defoliation has been shown to affect the occurrence of crown fire in Ontario, highlighting the need to better understand the driving factors of this effect on forest structure, including changes in fuel loading, type and position. Here, we investigate five boreal mixedwood sites within four zones that experienced different durations of continuous defoliation by spruce budworm in northeastern Ontario. Duration of defoliation had significant effects on vertical stand components, namely, host overstory to host understory crown overlap, host overstory and host understory crown to downed woody debris overlap, and downed woody debris height and quantity. Vertical stand components tended to increase with the duration of continuous defoliation, with the highest vertical fuel continuity occurring after 16 years of continuous defoliation. Such increases in the vertical spatial continuity of fuels may be a key reason for the greater percentage of area burned in those forests which have recently sustained a spruce budworm outbreak.