Fires of Kuwait

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. (see Gulf War).

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.

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  1. – Plenty of footage of people working around burning oil wells. Best viewed in a dark room, since black oil covering all things makes details hard to see at times.
    – Narration mostly describes the footage, so there is more of an emphasis on, “Here is what it is” rather than “Here is what it means.”
    – States that there are many methods of putting out the fires, but only shows around 3. It would have been good to give explanations of the others, or at least to list them with descriptive names.
    – Strong emphasis on the value of teams working together.
    – No discussion of environmental or economic impact other than what is observable on film.