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Tent Permit Requirements

Tent Permit Requirements

Tent Permits are reviewed and inspected by the Aspen Fire Protection District and are required for any temporary tent, canopy or membrane structure larger than 400 square feet.


  • Tent permit applications must be submitted seven (7) days prior to installation of the tent to ensure enough time to process the application, for departmental reviews, and to issue a permit.
    • Installation of a tent cannot begin until an approved permit has been issued.
       Please note - payment of permit fees does not constitute an approved tent permit.
  • To Apply for a Tent Permits:

Permit Exemptions for Tents, Canopies and Membrane Structures:

  •  Tents used exclusively for recreational camping purposes
  •  Fabric canopies that are open on all sides and comply with the following:
    • Less than 700 square feet
    • Total area of multiple canopies together (less than 12 feet apart) is less than 700 square feet total
    • Minimum clearance of 12 feet to all structures and other tents

Tent Inspections:

  • NOTE: An inspection by the fire department is required once the tent is installed and prior to the event. Please call for the inspection once all furnishings & decorations have been installed in the tent(s).

Documentation Required: 

  1. Site Map to show size & location of tent(s)
  2. Diagram for each tent to show:
    a. Seating/flooring Plan
    b. Location of any heating elements
    c. Location of all exits
    d. Location of all electrical service
  3. Flame Resistance Certification (based on Int’l Fire Code requirements)
    a. Certificates are required for the tent, as well as any decorative material used inside the tent. Note: certificates shall be provided by whichever vendor is responsible for the respective items or materials used.
    b. Documentation for interior materials must be kept on site and available upon request by the AHJ.

Requirements to be aware of/information to include:

  • Tents installed next to buildings cannot block or impede exiting or path of egress from building. Egress also cannot be blocked by tent “doors.” A clear exit path must be maintained at all times.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors are required if there is any type of fuel burning appliance used in the tent. Detectors must be installed per manufacturer’s specifications
    • TEST the carbon monoxide detectors prior to event to make sure devices are functioning
  • Smoke detectors in tents, while not prohibited, ARE NOT required, as these devices are not rated for use in unheated spaces. Smoke detectors have been known to cause false alarms in tents due to environmental conditions.
  • Any bunting, decorative materials and effects used within the tent or temporary structure must be fire resistant treated, as per requirements of the Int’l Fire Code.
  • “No Smoking” sign/s must be installed within tent(s) as per Int’l Fire Code.
  • Fire extinguishers:
    • Must be hung in an obvious and easily accessible location and remain unobstructed.
    • Extinguishers must be hung on appropriate hanger. The extinguisher itself cannot be permanently attached to the tent structure (e.g., you cannot use zip ties to attach extinguisher to the structure).
    • Extinguishers must be current on annual inspection
    • Maximum actual travel distance to a fire extinguisher cannot exceed 75’
    • A type K extinguisher is required within 30’ of any cooking equipment.
  • Exit signage required is based on occupant load calculations (maximum distance to an exit can be no more than 75’ travel distance).
  • Any open flames, e.g., candles, must be approved by the Fire Department prior to the event. Open flames will not be permitted for usage within the tent.
  • Heating devices, utilizing open flames, such as mushroom heaters, are not allowed for use within tents.
  • Fireworks (e.g. sparklers) are not allowed for use within any tent
  • Decks higher than 30” must include a railing, per building code (or stairs with 4 steps, including the landing)

Cooking Operations for Food Vending Tents

The Aspen Fire Department has adopted the 2021 International Fire Code (IFC).

Recent liquid propane tank incidents in the Roaring Fork Valley, that have caused employee and spectator/guest injuries, have prompted area fire departments to reinforce the fire codes concerning cooking operations for food vendors utilizing tents and temporary membrane structures.

It is important for all event planners, including property owners, food vendors and tent companies to begin planning early for these requirements, and be able to provide a layout map of the cooking area(s) they plan to utilize during their event, including number and type of appliances.

  • In addition to the IFC Code, please take specific note of all of these rules to be followed, and be prepared for stricter guidance and inspections:
  • All portable generators shall have the protection of a serviced and tagged fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 10-B, no further than 3 feet from the generator.
  • All tents utilizing cooking operations or appliances that produce sparks or grease-laden vapors or flying embers, shall not be erected within 20 feet of any other tent and/or structure not performing cooking operations.
  • All tents and shade material utilized for cooking operations shall have flame propagation performance criteria of NFPA 701. If there is no proof of such criteria available on the material, operations may be suspended until criteria can be met.
  • All cooking equipment used within each tent shall have the protection of at least one serviced and tagged, 1.5-gallon Class K fire extinguisher per tent.
  • All cooking equipment, utilizing combustible oils or solids, shall have a non-combustible lid of sufficient size to cover the cooking well/container completely.
  • All cooking equipment shall be placed on a non-combustible surface to prevent fire spread and environmental damage.
  • All portable LP-gas containers being used during cooking operations shall no longer be allowed under tents. The minimum distance from combustibles and other structures shall be 10 feet.
  • Connections for LP-gas containers must be tested for leaks prior to usage, by using either soapy water or a special leak detector solution.
  • Per NFPA 58, all portable LP-gas containers being used during cooking operations shall be under 12 years of age from stamped date of manufacture, or shall be hydrostatically requalified, as verified by the Fire Marshal. Tanks with illegible date stamp markings may be disqualified from service.
  • Fire apparatus access roads to include parking lots and access from parking lots shall be a minimum of 20 feet wide for public roadways, and 16 feet wide for private drives.
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