When a Waikato woman wanted to rid her property of a derelict house, she had the perfect idea: get her Fire Service colleagues to burn it down.

Anna McKay, a volunteer firefighter with the Ngaruawahia brigade for about five years, recognised that the dwelling had value as a training tool.

Since 10 this morning, she's been working with around 20 firefighters and police doing drills in and around the house.

Crew are setting the house alight in sections at intervals during the day.


Fire Service assistant area commander Darryl Papesch was on site overseeing the training exercise.

He said the house would continue to be burned in sections - with one last burn scheduled to take place around 2pm.

"We will let it burn down to the ground, to ashes, or pretty close to it."

Mr Papesch said the controlled burn provided an invaluable training session that was safer than a real, uncontrolled house fire.

"We have many safety measures in place; it's a big rigmarole."

He said it wasn't uncommon for people to offer their houses to be set alight.

"These opportunities come up more than you think, but to have one in your own town, from your own brigade, that's the first I've ever seen."

It's understood Ms McKay plans to build two new houses on the soon-to-be cleared land.