When is an Austin Fire Department Tent Permit required?

Non Air Inflated:

  • Tents anchored directly to the ground fall in the following categories:
    • Structures greater than 400 square feet with one or more sidewalls.
    • Structures greater than 400 square feet and within 20 feet of a building.
    • All structures greater than 700 square feet.

Air Inflated:

  • Temporary Membrane Structures greater than 100 square feet.

AFD will have final determination on all fire related permits. Tents constructed on site must be reviewed and approved by the AFD for compliance with the current ordinances, safety, fire and building codes. All AFD permitted tents require a review and approval.

Those hosting an event with 50 or more people must fill out an ACE application but do not need a separate tent permit application. The application deadline will be 30 days or the SEO’s deadline for the tier of the event (whichever is greater).

Those hosting an event with less than 50 people must fill out the standalone tent application for tents requiring a permit no less than 10 days prior to the event.

Please note:

  • Site plans should include detailed information on tent type, size, and location.
  • Tent permit fees are nonrefundable.

General requirements

  • Permitted tents or tent groups must be NFPA 701 compliant and have proof of compliance attached to the tent fabric from the manufacturer.
  • All food vendors, including out of town mobile vendors/trailers, must have a current health permit.
  • Cooking tents/temporary structure must be located a minimum of 20 ft. from any permanent structure.
  • Cooking tents with sidewalls must be separated from any/all other tents by 20 ft.
  • Vehicles must be parked a minimum of 20 ft. from each tent/temporary structure.
  • Cooking vendors must be separated from non-cooking vendors b y a 12 foot fire break.
  • Enclosed tents require proper exiting and signage (battery back-up/tritium, 7 ft. high).
  • “No Smoking” signs are required to be posted inside tent areas.
  • Cooking and heating equipment shall not be located within 10 ft. of any exits or combustibles.

For a more detailed list, see Tent Rules and Requirements (pdf).

Inclement Weather Contingency Plans

Weather conditions can change quickly in Austin. An inclement weather plan that includes location of tents on the site plan should be included with the ACE application. Getting this pre-approved allows you to quickly add tents to your event in case of emergency.

  • Caution: Tents should not be occupied during electrical storms and/or high wind conditions.

Temporary Air Supported and Air Inflated Membrane Structures

  • During high winds exceeding 50 miles per hour, the doors shall remain closed and be controlled when operated to open and close, avoiding excessive air loss.
  • Doors shall be automatic closing to prevent pressure loss, swing in direction of exit travel, and shall open with 15 pounds or less of pressure.
  • Construction of the fabric envelope and the method of anchoring shall comply with ASI 77.
  • Structures used as a place of assembly shall have a minimum of 2 blowers with adequate capacity to maintain full inflation in case of failure of one blower.
  • For places of assembly of more than 200 persons, auxiliary power (generator) shall be provided to power one blower continuously for four (4) hours.
  • All temporary air supported and air inflated membrane structures may require an AFD Engineer review.

Cooking Tents

Fire Extinguishers

  • Each vendor/ tent must have a 2A10BC rated fire extinguisher.
  • Any cooking operation involving combustible cooking media (frying vegetable or animal oils and fats) requires a Class K rated extinguisher, in addition to a 2A10BC rated fire extinguisher.
  • All fire extinguishers must have a current annual inspection.
  • Any solid fuel cooking operation (wood/charcoal) must have a minimum 2.5gl Class K extinguisher.


The number of appliances fueled by propane per vendor will be determined by the AFD inspector. Event setup, manufacturer recommendations, and public safety are a few of the things that AFD takes into consideration when making a determination of the number of propane fueled appliances allowed per vendor. A maximum 100 lbs. of propane in use per appliance, with a 200 lb. maximum of propane in use allowed per vendor.

  • Propane bottles must be placed at the rear exterior of the tent for emergency access and at a minimum of five (5) feet away from any ignition source and cooking appliances.
    • Emergency access must not require tent entry.
    • Propane cylinders must be secured in an upright position.
  • Spare propane bottles are not allowed on site unless approved.
    • Designated area for spare and empty propane tanks must be established and approved by fire department.
  • Propane appliances must have LPG stamped on their hoses.

Grills & Pits

  • No grilling with charcoal or wood is allowed under any tented structure.
  • Outside BBQ pits with stacks must have a five (5) feet clear circumference from combustibles, a 15 feet clearance above the stacks, and a distance of ten (10) feet from any permanent structure or 20 feet from any tent.
  • Homemade LPG appliances will be inspected individually and may not be authorized without an engineer’s certificate.