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Special Events – Fire Permits

Permit Sonoma Fire Prevention

This information is related to permits issued by the Fire Prevention Division for all special events located in the unincorporated area of Sonoma County. View additional Special Events permitting requirements, such as Encroachment, Zoning, and Health.

It is the responsibility of the event holder to comply with all state and local codes. The applicant is required to fill out and return the special event form along with site maps and description of the event. A copy will be forwarded to the local fire authority for review. Applications should be submitted 30 days prior to the start of the event. Events submitted after 30 days may not be approved or are subject to additional fees.

Fire Districts: If the event is located in a Local Fire Protection District, the district may require additional information and impose special conditions before approvals are authorized. This includes safety plans, fire agency standby or other conditions to protect life, property and the environment.

Special Event Permit Application Form

Special Event Permit Application (PDF: 182 kB)

If you are having trouble viewing forms or need assistance please contact the main office at (707) 565-2361.

Temporary Tents

Temporary tents (over 400 square feet) installed at special events may need an additional permit application.
More information: Tent Permitting and Inspections

Public Safety Standby Matrix Table

View Special Event Matrix Table

Examples of Special Events

Many business in the county may have approved conditioned use permits. These permits may have been conditioned by the County Fire Marshal. Special situations not covered by use permits may require a special event permit. Permits are required to protect the public from fire and life safety concerns. The following are examples which may require a special event permit from the County Fire Marshal:

  • Amusement buildings
  • Aviation or Air Shows
  • Bike or Foot Races
  • Carnivals, Haunted Houses, Fairs
  • Concerts
  • Exhibits or Trade Shows
  • Explosives
  • Farmers Markets
  • Festivals
  • High-Pile Storage
  • Marine Events

Safety Provision Information

Application Information

The permit application process begins when an application is submitted to the Fire Prevention Division, or when applying for a Cultural Event Permit or an Encroachment Permit through Permit Sonoma. The acceptance of the application shall in no way be construed as final approval. Permit applications must be received no later than thirty (30) days prior to the actual date of event or may risk not being approved. Submit the completed application to the Fire Prevention Division. A representative will contact the applicant upon receipt of the application and thereafter will serve as the primary point of contact for permit processing. An inspection of the venue may be required before and/or during the event and a final approval will be issued at the time of the final inspection. Applications of events located within a fire protection district will be routed for additional reviews and conditions. A representative from the district may contact the applicant for additional information or may provide in writing to Sonoma County Fire special conditions to be reviewed and responded to by the applicant prior to final approval.  

Site Plan / Route Map

To ensure appropriate review for each event, it is required to submit a site plan and/or route map with the application. This is applicable for moving routes and fixed venues. The site plan shall be submitted in a clear and legible manner and on a standard 8 1/2 inches x 11 inches or 8 1/2 inches x 14 inches format; larger maps or blueprints may be necessary. If the scope of work proposed for the event includes portable structures, prefabricated structures or site built structures (bleachers, elevated platforms, temporary pedestrian bridges, tents / membrane or similar structures), Permit Sonoma may require the issuance of a Building Permit.

Event Description

Please provide a detailed narrative and/or timeline of the event, include a description of such activities within the event (use of pyrotechnics, inflatable’s, vehicles, rides, etc.) and other pertinent information.

Public Safety Plan

If the Fire Code Official determines that an indoor or outdoor event has an adverse impact on public safety (diminished access to buildings, structures, fire hydrants and fire apparatus access roads) or public safety services, the Fire Code Official shall have the authority to order the development of, or prescribe a plan for the provisions of an approved level of public safety. The public safety plan shall address such items as emergency vehicle ingress and egress; fire protection; emergency medical services; public assembly areas; directing of attendees and vehicles (including the parking of vehicles); vendor and food concession distribution; the need for law enforcement, and fire and emergency medical services personnel for such event. (CFC Sec. 403).

Fire Watch Personnel

This service may be performed by the local fire district.

One or more Fire Watch personnel shall be provided at every event at the rate of at least one for each event, and at least one per each 1,000 participants or spectators, to remain on duty during the times such places are open to the public, or when such activity is being conducted. Fire Watch personnel shall have access to an emergency services (911) alert system; fire extinguishers and firefighting equipment as necessary; keep diligent watch for fires, obstructions to means of egress and other hazards during the event when accessible to the public or such activity is being conducted, take prompt measures for remediation of hazards, extinguishment of all fires, and assist in the evacuation of the public from the structures (if needed). (CFC Sec. 403).

Standby Personnel

One or more trained crowd managers or other qualified persons, at a ratio of one crowd manager/supervisor for every 250 occupants shall be provided during the event when such places are open to the public, or activity is being conducted. (CFC Sec 2404).


The law enforcement agency having jurisdiction has final authority to determine the event security requirements. Contact the local law enforcement agency for security requirements. If the appropriate numbers of licensed private security guards is not provided, or prove inadequate, the Sonoma County Fire Marshal maintains the right to shut down any or all components of the event and/or to request additional security services that will be billed directly to the Host Organization. (CFC Sec. 403).


This service may be performed by the local fire district. 

The Coastal Valley Emergency Medical Services Agency (EMS) - Sonoma County Office, has final authority to determine the event medical services requirements. Contact the Sonoma County Emergency Medical Services at (707) 565-6501 for EMS requirements. If appropriate medical services are not provided, or prove inadequate, the Sonoma County Fire Marshal maintains the right to shut down any or all components of the event and/or to request additional medical services that will be billed directly to the Host Organization. (CFC Sec. 403).

Parking and Traffic

As an event organizer, there should be a parking and traffic plan suitable for the environment in which the event will take place. Remember that parking, traffic congestion and environmental pollutants are all factors of concern at all events. The plan should include access and/or accessible parking (handicapped); the use of carpools, parking shuttles, public transportation and alternate modes of nonpolluting transportation whenever possible. The parking and traffic plan should also be included in the Site Plan/Route Map.