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Special Events Temporary Assembly Info

When a permit is required:

  • Operating a carnival, fair, concert, festival.
  • Conducting an event in which alterations are made to the existing exit configuration, character or use of the facility. 
  • When using a liquid or gas-fueled vehicle or equipment for display or competition inside an assembly occupancy.
  • Separate permits are required for use of candles, open flame devices, flammable or combustible liquids or gases.
  • Pyrotechnics/Special effects
  • Cryogenics
  • Any time a material or operation is introduced into an assembly occupancy that could possibly pose a hazard.

Download Temporary Assembly Occupancy Info (PDF)

Click the links for more information:


Fire lanes:   A fire lane(s) with a minimum width of 20 feet must be provided to access all areas of the event.

Vendors: See the Concerts/Large Fairs/Festivals section below, subsections on Cooking and Special effects and demonstrations.

Tents and Canopies: See the Tent/Canopy Permit Procedures web page.

Stage placement: Subject to review by the Fire Marshal's Office. Stages and/or platforms should not be of a size and/or placed in such a way as to obstruct/block fire lanes or exits from any buildings or fenced areas where the public might be present.


Concerts, Festivals, Large Fairs

Merchandise: The Fire Marshal's Office shall review the following:  Merchandising sales locations in order to ensure that fire lanes and/or exits are not obstructed and/or blocked. Items to be distributed/give-a-ways will be looked at in order to review any item that may cause harm to either performer or members of the audience. Those items deemed hazardous may be denied/banned.

Stage diving: Not allowed. It creates an unsafe condition for the audience and security staff.

Special effects and demonstrations: Any special effect or demonstrations using open flame or hazardous materials requires review and approval by the Fire Marshal's Office. For fireworks, see Pyrotechnics.

Staging: Props over patrons, stage size and placement are subject to review and approval.

The Fire Marshal's Office will review the following and make recommendations when applicable:

  • Line queuing and line control
  • Security plan and/or issues
  • House lighting

Barricade: When a barricade is utilized, the distance from the stage and/or any object protruding from the down stage edge shall be set by the Fire Marshal's Office. Generally the minimum allowed distance is 7 feet.


A permit is required for cooking activities that utilize LPG (propane) and/or open flame (charcoal, wood, etc.).

Permits are not required for electric cooking operations or for operations using "Sterno" canisters to heat pre-cooked food or butane canisters less than 8 ounces in size.

Permits may be obtained for a single event or for a twelve month period.

Important: Permits requiring inspection outside of regular business hours may be billed by invoice for the inspection.  Regular business hours are considered Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  In order to allow sufficient time for safety review, applications that are received less than 10 days prior to an event date will be charged a late fee, or less than 30 days prior to the event for more complicated permit types.  These time guidelines help ensure the safety of all event participants.

Representatives of the Fire Marshal’s Office will cannot accept payment for applications in the field.

Fire extinguishers:  Fire extinguishers are required for all cooking operations irregardless of whether or not a permit is required. See below for information on size and type.

The type of fire extinguisher(s) required varies with the type of fuel used. The following types of fuel or operations require specific fire extinguishers as noted:

Type of Fuel or Cooking Operation

Type of Fire Extinguisher Required

Charcoal or Wood BBQ

Minimum U.L. Rating of 2A 20BC

Propane, Butane or Natural Gas

Minimum U.L. Rating of 2A 40BC

Deep Fat Frying
(Heated Using Electric, Propane or Other Means)

U.L. Rated For Class "K" (in Addition to the Fire Extinguisher Required for the Source of Heat Being Used.)

Cooking operations taking place that lack the appropriate fire extinguisher will be ordered to cease operation immediately until the required fire extinguisher can be obtained.

Fire extinguishers must be affixed with a tag that indicates they have been serviced within the past 12 months. Exception: New fire extinguishers (those purchased within the past 12 months) may pass inspection by having the receipt showing the date of purchase taped or otherwise attached to the fire extinguisher.

Fuel:  Quantities of fuel that may be stored on site vary on a case-by-case basis depending upon several factors. Contact the Fire Marshal's Office at (206) 386-1450 and request to speak to a representative of the Special Event Section to determine the specific amount applicable for your activity.

Open Flame & Candles

For use of more than one candle a permit is required and the type is subjected to review. Any open flame device other than a candle is subject to review and a permit may be required.  A single candle, that is a pre-approved type, does not require a permit.

Pyrotechnics (fireworks)

General requirements for approval of pyrotechnics include the following:

  • Operation must be under the direct supervision of a State of Washington Licensed Pyrotechnician.
  • Certificate of Insurance for a minimum of two (2) million dollars. (Certificate must be reviewed and approved by the City of Seattle Office of Risk Management.)
  • Product list
  • Product placement
  • Outdoor displays may require FAA approval

Fire Acts & Performances

Any act which incorporates the use of fire, must be reviewed and approved by the Fire Marshal's Office. Requirements can vary based on the amount and method in which fire is utilized. Because of the varying requirements, contact the Fire Marshal's Office at (206) 386-1450 and request to speak to a representative of the Special Events Section.

Note: Fire breathing is not allowed in the City of Seattle.

Tents, Canopies and Air-supported Structures

See detailed information on the Tent/Canopy Permit Procedures web page.

Portable Heaters

Electric heaters may be operated in an Assembly Occupancy (this includes outdoor service/seating areas) and do not require a Fire Department permit. Heaters using flammable/combustible liquids (e.g. diesel) as a fuel source are allowed with restrictions and require a Fire Department permit.

"Mushroom type" propane heaters (e.g. upright heaters with self-contained propane fuel source) and any other heaters designed so that the propane source is located inside the Assembly Occupancy are prohibited..

Heaters that operate with the propane fuel source located outside the Assembly Occupancy (or where patrons/public might gather) and the heated air is pumped into the assembly area (e.g. salamander heaters) are allowed but require a Fire Department permit. The propane generally must be a minimum of 10 feet from the Assembly Occupancy.

Display of Liquid or Gas-Fueled Vehicles

Using a liquid or gas-fueled vehicle or equipment in an Assembly Occupancy for display is allowed under the following conditions:

  • Maximum fuel allowed 1/4 of a tank or 5 gallons whichever is less.
  • All gas covers shall be taped or have a locking type gas cap.
  • Battery cables shall be disconnected and taped.
  • Vehicles with no fuel gauge or with broken fuel gauge shall not be allowed on the event floor and shall not be displayed, unless the Fire Marshal's Office gives prior approval.

Use of liquid or gas-fueled vehicles or equipment for working demonstrations or competition in an assembly must be reviewed and approved by the Fire Marshal's Office. Requirements can vary based on the nature of the competition/demonstration, number of spectators, etc. Because of the varying requirements, contact the Fire Marshal's Office at (206) 386-1450 and request to speak to a representative of the Special Events Section.


Last Modified:   January 12, 2017

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