Outdoor Events

A permit from your local fire department may be required for certain events. For the UW's Seattle campus, groups wanting to erect tents or host events can use this flow chart to determine which permits you may need. If a permit is required, or for more specific information, you may contact the Special Events section of the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) directly. Basic information can be found on the SFD website, or they can be reached by phone at (206) 386-1450. Allow for at least 10 calendar days prior to the event to avoid a late fee. For major special events, SFD may require 30 days' notice. For other University locations, contact your local fire department/district.

Outdoor Assembly Events

Permits are required for outdoor assembly events, public and private, when the attendance exceeds 499 persons for an open area (Figure 2), or 99 people for an enclosed area (Figure 3). Enclosed areas include spaces with permanent or temporary fencing or barricades.

a picture
Figure 1   Tent for CHDD event

Large crowd
Figure 2 Open area with > 499 persons

barricaded audience
Figure 3 Enclosed area

Additional Permits

Additional permits are also required for the following:

  • Propane barbecues and grills, open flames (including charcoal grills) and candles when used in conjunction with an outdoor assembly event
  • Tents with walls that exceed 400 square feet (Figure 4)
  • Tents without walls, also referred to as canopies, that exceed 700 square feet in size (Figure 5)
  • If no walls are included, groupings of open-sided tents or canopies that cover an area of over 700 square feet or have less than 12 feet of clearance to other tents or buildings may also require permits
  • Air supported or air inflated items, such as giant movie screens, giant slides and other climb-on pieces (Figure 6)

Tent gt 400 sq ft.
Figure 4

open sided tent/canopy
Figure 5

air inflated/supported structure
Figure 6


If you have further questions, or would like EH&S to assist in planning for your event, contact our office at 206-221-7055 or email colliv@uw.edu.