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Published: Thursday, 8/14/2003

Ash tree disease prompts NASCAR firewood rule

The tiny Asian beetle that has destroyed six million ash trees in southeast Michigan has become an issue at an unlikely place: Michigan International Speedway, which is to host three days of NASCAR events, beginning tomorrow.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture yesterday pointed out that its firewood quarantine for 13 counties also prohibits the movement of wood within much of that region.

As a result, speedway campers aren't supposed to take firewood to the Jackson County site unless they can prove it has no emerald ash borers, the destructive beetle in question.

Winston Cup practice and qualifying will be held tomorrow, the Cabela's 250 is Saturday, and the GFS Marketplace 400 will take place Sunday.

Visitors will be allowed to buy firewood locally, but are urged to burn all they purchase before they leave, Dan Wyant, state agriculture director, said.

Emerald ash borers were found in western Lucas County in the spring, prompting fears for Ohio's ash crop. The state responded by destroying hundreds of trees in the vicinity of affected sites, in hopes of halting the spread.

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