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The BC Wildfire Service has declared the destructive MacDougall Creek blaze as "held" as crews take advantage of cooler, calmer conditions to make headway on several wildfires.Shawn Talbot/The Globe and Mail

Much of British Columbia will welcome the first week of fall with wet, cool conditions after enduring a summer of drought.

Autumn officially begins at 11:50 p.m. Pacific time on Friday and Environment Canada forecasts show clouds and showers are expected to sweep across the south coast within hours of the autumnal equinox.

Extended forecasts from the weather office show heavy rain should arrive Monday and more than 100 millimetres are expected across parts of western Vancouver Island by early Tuesday.

Accumulations elsewhere on the south coast could range from 30 to about 50 millimetres over the same period.

Extended forecasts for much of the rest of the province also call for clouds, showers and rain over the coming week, but officials have said extended periods of significant rainfall will be needed to ease the drought that has gripped B.C. since last summer.

Crews have taken advantage of cooler, calmer conditions to make headway on several wildfires, declaring the destructive MacDougall Creek blaze as "held" and ranking more wildfires as being held than being out of control.

The BC Wildfire Service says just under 400 active fires are burning in the province, with 146 of them rated as out of control and 147 listed as being held, meaning they are unlikely to spread beyond current containment lines.

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