Skip to Content

Use of Travel Trailers & Recreational Vehicles for Temporary Occupancy by Fire Survivors

Rebuilding Together

En español

The use and occupancy of travel trailers and other recreational vehicles (RVs) on any parcel outside of fire-damaged sites, will be allowed with a temporary permit from Permit Sonoma as noted below. Permits are good for one year, but may be renewed. Recreational vehicles may be used on fire damaged sites only after the site is approved as safe for reconstruction by the County, state, or federal government and with the approval of a temporary permit.

Temporary Permit

Residential use of recreational vehicles and travel trailers will be allowed for persons displaced by Sonoma County fires on sites both within and outside burn areas on residential or agriculturally zoned properties with a temporary permit, provided that it is connected to an approved source of water, sewage disposal system, and source of electricity.

Duration of Permit

The recreational vehicle/travel trailer and all connections must be removed when the permit expires, and no later than:

2019 Kincade Fire: December 31, 2021

2020 Walbridge and Meyers Fires: December 31, 2022

2020 Glass Fire: December 31, 2022

Permit Submittal Requirements

  • Temporary Emergency Occupancy Permit Application
  • Written consent of the property owner
  • Vehicle description, model, registration, and size
  • Three (3) copies of a Site Plan showing location of the vehicle, water supply, electrical supply and sewage disposal plan including connection details
  • Septic system findings report, if required
  • Copy of pumping contract if holding tank is proposed to be used for sewage disposal


  • The recreational vehicle must be connected to an approved source of water, sewer, and electricity.
  • Approved source of water includes public or private water systems or an existing well.
  • An approved sewage disposal system includes either:
    1. connection to sewer lateral;
    2. connection to existing onsite septic system determined by the director to be intact and functioning with capacity for the additional residential use; or
    3. temporary holding tank with contract for regular pumping.
  • An approved source of electricity includes a permitted electrical service hook-up

Siting and Sewage Connection Considerations

Recreational Vehicles shall be placed on existing level areas. Work to create a level area for vehicle placement or to create access to a level area may require a separate grading permit.

Construction of retaining walls to create a level area requires a separate building permit. Sewage connections should be made to allow for gravity flow to disposal location, otherwise a grinder pump will be required. Connections to septic tanks shall be made at the inlet end.

Vehicles may connect to existing intact and functioning septic systems. A findings report is required to verify the location, condition, and adequacy of septic systems that are not on file with the county, or that are located in the burn area.


Septic - Generally, the septic system must be uncovered for evaluation. Inspections may be performed by private qualified consultants. If the septic system is damaged or if the house is served by a cesspool, a new septic system will be required meeting at least the repair guidelines for septic systems.

Building - A building inspector will inspect the electrical and plumbing hook ups. The applicant is instructed to call for inspections, as they do for other building permits.

diagram showing temporary sanitary and electrical connection (not to scale)