Fires of Kuwait (1992)
Videos in this documentary
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One year after the Iraqi invasion, the Kuwait desert still burns. Iraqi forces had tried to fend off encroaching coalition forces by setting Kuwait's oil wells on fire. As the defeated Iraqi forces left Kuwait, they set fire to hundreds more in an act of defiant vandalism. Now a company of Canadians is working overtime to put the fires out and salvage what's left of the environment. CBC's Allen Abel follows members of "Team Canada" as they trudge through this dangerous but lucrative assignment. The Kuwaiti oil fires were a result of the scorched earth policy of Iraqi military forces retreating from Kuwait in 1991 after conquering the country; but being driven out by Coalition military forces. The resulting fires burned out of control because of the dangers of sending in firefighting crews. Land mines had been placed in areas around the oil wells, and a military cleaning of the areas was necessary before the fires could be put out. Somewhere around 6 million barrels (950,000 m3) of oil were lost each day. Eventually, privately contracted crews extinguished the fires, at a total cost of US$1.5 billion to Kuwait. By that time, however, the fires had burned for months, causing widespread pollution.
Fires of Kuwait is a 1992 documentary film directed by David Douglas. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. It played in Imax theatres. The film was the winner of the 2005 Hall of Fame Award from Giant Screen Cinema Association.