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WORST IS OVER IN 6,000-ACRE LONG ISLAND WILDFIRE

A brushfire that burned 6,000 acres in eastern Long Island was nearly contained Saturday, and officials said only a few hot spots were left of the once-raging blaze.

New York Gov. George Pataki toured the fire area during the morning and said he saw "a lot of smiling faces.""The fire is not yet contained," he told a morning briefing. "Clearly the worst is behind us. There are just some very small hot spots. Everybody is extremely confident."

Officials were reluctant to say the fire was officially contained, but high humidity and calm air helped the efforts of some 2,000 firefighters.

The blaze, which began Thursday night, damaged eight houses, a lumberyard and a railroad station, injured 40 firefighters and drove hundreds of people from their homes.

It was spread by high winds in an area where less than a quarter inch of rain has fallen in the past month.

The fire bordered an area of expensive real estate, but the efforts of firefighters prevented its spread to the richer areas of the Hamptons beach resort on the Atlantic Ocean where many Hollywood celebrities and wealthy business people spend the summer.

While no official estimate was available, officials said property damage was minimal.

Two promised C-130 cargo planes, capable of dumping huge loads of water, were scheduled to arrive later Saturday, said Col. Edward Jacoby, head of the New York State forest rangers, who has been coordinating the efforts of more than 2,000 firefighters.

Pataki said he was "disappointed" the cargo planes had not arrived, telling CNN "the federal government acknowledged they had an internal problem."

Later he said, "We hope federal help gets here shortly after the fire is out."