Tents and Membrane Structures


The requirements of the California Fire Code (CFC) govern the use of tents, awnings, or other fabric enclosures, including membrane (air-supported and air-inflated) structures and places of assemblage, in or under which 10 or more persons may gather.


  1. Tents and awnings used to cover or enclose private swimming pools on the premises of private one and two-family dwellings
  2. Tents used to conduct committal services on the ground of a cemetery
  3. Tents or awning erected and used within a sound stage, or other similar structural enclosure which is equipped with an overhead automatic sprinkler system
  4. Fabric structures which are part of mobile homes, recreational vehicles or commercial coaches


Tent: A structure, enclosure or shelter, with or without side-walls or drops, constructed of fabric or pliable material supported by any manner.

Permit Required (CFC 105.6.43 and 3103.2)

  • Tents with an area in excess of 400 square feet
  • Tents open on all sides (canopy) in excess of 700 square feet
  • A canopy with one or more walls is considered a tent with regard to square footage requirements


Tents open on all sides (canopies) which comply with all of the following:

  • Individual tents having a size of less than 700 square feet
  • The aggregate area of multiple tents placed side by side without a fire break clearance of 12 feet, not exceeding 700 square feet total
  • A minimum clearance of 12 feet to all structures and other tents

Different fire departments have different procedures for obtaining a tent permit. To obtain a Tent Permit Application and learn the application process, click on the buttons below.