East Sussex Wildlife Rescue is asking people thinking of having an autumn bonfire to take care not to cause injury to local wildlife.
It is unclear how may hedgehogs and other wildlife die in bonfires each year, mainly because they rarely get found afterwards. Numerous families have unfortunately had their bonfire celebrations ruined after finding escaping hedgehogs and other wildlife crawling out from bonfires burnt or injured.
East Sussex WRAS has published these Top Ten Bonfire Safety Tips to help keep not just our declining hedgehog population safe but also other wildlife like bats and birds.
WRAS’s Top Ten Bonfire Safety Tips:
- 1) Re-site the entire bonfire pile before being lit where possible
- 2) Use broom handles to lift the bonfire up to check for wildlife sleeping inside before lighting the fire. Use torches to check underneath and listen carefully for any signs of life.
- 3) With larger bonfires, erect a mesh fence with an overhang round the bonfire to avoid small wild mammals getting inside
- 4) Light the bonfire at one side rather than all round so that any animals or bird inside have a chance to escape
- 5) Move bird feeders and other food left out on the ground for wildlife away from the bonfire site for at least a week before building a bonfire
- 6) Light bonfires away from over hanging trees and bushes
- 7) Use fireworks away from trees and woodland
- 8) Place a hedgehog house or simple small hutch with clean and fresh straw, hay and hand shredded paper to provide an alternative home for any animals which might be visiting your garden
- 9) Have a bucket of water available in care you need to put out the fire or an animal on fire
- 10) Know who to call if you find an injured wildlife casualty.
Fewer people were hurt at this year's Bonfire Night in Lewes. This year ambulance staff treated 82 people compared to 170 last year. But seven of those hurt did need hospital treatment. Fifteen people were arrested this year - the same as last year - but police said the parade was largely peaceful.
Only 30,000 people attended last night - around half of last year's turnout. Superintendent Laurence Taylor said: "At public events of this size there are always going to be incidents. Fortunately we saw a significant drop in the number of firework-related injuries compared with last year."
VIDEO: Thousands of people gathered to see a series of torchlit processions winding through Lewes this evening.
Is it a bird? Viewer Shelley Kettle sent in a picture of a bizarre firework.
VIDEO: At Lewes, in Sussex, six different societies compete - with spectacular parades and displays. Malcolm Shaw has been finding out how Lewes became the bonfire capital of the world.
Cliffe Bonfire Society in Lewes get their evening of entertainment underway. Send us pictures of the Bonfire Night events you're attending to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stratfield Brake Recreation Ground - Kidlington
Time: Gates open at 6.00pm
Cost: Adults £5. Children £4.
The Plough - Upper Wolvercote, Oxfordshire
Fringford Green - Fringford, Oxfordshire
St Michael's School - Oxford
Time: Gates open at 5.30pm
Cost: Adults £2.50. Children £1.50. Family £7.
County Cricket Ground - Hove
Cost: £5 - £10
If we've missed any events, then let us know by emailing email@example.com.
Here's a list of bonfire events taking place across the Meridian region tonight:
Redbridge Community School - Southampton
Time: 7.30pm. Gates open at 6.00pm
Cost: Adults £3. Children £2.
Lewes War Memorial - Lewes
Time: 5.00pm - 1.00am
Thomas A Becket Middle School - Worthing
Time: 7.00pm. Gates open at 6.00pm
Cost: Individual ticket £3. Family ticket £10. £4 each on the gate. Under 5s free.
Stockheath Common - Havant
Time: Funfair from 4.00pm fireworks from 7.45pm