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We have used the Bondio-Gallimberti model of positive leader propagation to simulate laboratory experiments of laser triggering and guiding of upward leaders initiated from a ground rod. The model proves to be capable of reproducing all the important features of laser-guided leader propagation that have been observed experimentally. The leader guiding effect of the laser-created plasma channel is taken into account in the model by adjusting the value of the charge per unit length of the leader, which has been measured in the laboratory to be lower for a laser-guided leader than for an ordinary one. The charge per unit length of the leader is related in the model to the critical temperature at which the air in the transition region at the leader tip must be heated to be conductive enough to become a new leader portion. For an ordinary leader, this critical temperature is 1500 K, at which the electrons all detach from the negative ions in the leader corona, increasing the air conductivity. We give the interpretation that in the case of the laser-guided leaders, because of the relatively high density of negative ions per unit length in the laser-ionized channel, the right conditions of conductivity can be met in the transition region without the electrons being all detached from the ions, allowing a reduction of the critical temperature and of the charge per unit length.