Campus Events

A permit from your local fire department may be required for certain campus events whether indoor or outdoor. If a permit is required, or for more specific information, you may request assistance from EH&S or 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

An outdoor event is any event that takes place on University property outside of a permanent building and may include the use of tents, canopies, air inflated structures, bleachers, barricades, platforms, and stages. Permits are required for outdoor assembly events, public and private, when the attendance exceeds 99 people if enclosed with barricades or fencing, or 499 persons for open areas. For the UW Seattle campus, this Event Permit Flowchart may help you determine which permit you may need.

Permits for Outdoor Events

While a fire department permit is required for any event as outlined above, additional permits are also required for:

  • 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.
  • Tents without walls, also referred to as canopies, that exceed 700 square feet in size.
  • 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.
  • Air supported or air inflated items, such as giant movie screens, giant slides, and other climb-on pieces.
  • Fireworks, pyrotechnics, and fire dancers.

Tent gt 400 sq ft.

open sided tent/canopy

Indoor Events

A fire department permit may be required for an indoor event when a building will be used for other than its intended and approved use. For example, a haunted house, a dance in a library, a dining event in space not typically used for dining, or a dignitary presentation scheduled for an atrium or other large common space not intended as a major assembly venue.

Exiting and emergency systems are designed for the intended use and a special event that introduces many people, seating, tables, or hazards such as candles, pyrotechnics, or other unique fire hazards may not be permitted. It is often possible to obtain a special permit for indoor events but advance planning is needed. EH&S is available to assist.

Food Permits

A food permit may be required for most catered events. See more information and the Temporary Food Service Permit application.


If you have further questions or would like EH&S to assist in planning for your event and working with the fire department, contact our office at 206-616-3775 or email