Every year numbers of hedgehogs die or suffer injuries due to bonfire piles not being not checked before being lit. In just the last 10 years, hedgehog numbers have fallen by 30%, and there are now thought to be fewer than one million left in the UK. They are disappearing from our countryside as fast as tigers are worldwide.
To help prevent hedgehogs and other wildlife from suffering, it is advised by The British Hedgehog Preservation Society to avoid building your bonfire until the day it is going to be lit if possible. A fence around the fire as it is being built can help keep hedgehogs away, and it helps if the fire is made on clear ground (not on top of leaf litter). All bonfires should be checked before lighting.