Fires of Kuwait : A lookback after 25 YEARS


I am so glad that we have visited the Scientific Center in Kuwait and watched this amazing Documentary about the Fires of Kuwait. A sad aftermath of the Gulf War in 1991. This 39 minutes short film tells us about the Firestorm in the Desert , the terrible legacy of the Gulf War. This movie was a total eye-opener. I didn’t know  the extent of  damage of the Gulf War & invasion not until I have seen this movie. This is really an eye-opener.

Fires burned for ten (10) months. Imagine this.

According to a 2009 study published in Disaster Prevention and Management, firefighting crews from 10 countries, part of a response team that comprised approximately 11,450 workers from 38 countries, used familiar and also never-before-tested technologies to put out the fires. When the last one was extinguished in November, about 300 lakes of oil remained, as well as a layer of soot and oil that fell out of the sky and mixed with sand and gravel to form ‘tarcrete’ across 5 percent of Kuwait’s landscape

As Iraqi troops withdrew from Kuwait at the end of the first Gulf War, they set fire to over 650 oil wells and damaged many more, just south of the Iraq border .The oil spill is the largest Oil Spill recorded in Human History and considered as deadliest sin against the environment.

Black smoke plumes stream into the skies around Kuwiat City in April 1991  Five weeks after the Fires were set (Photo Credit : Nasa’s Earth Observator )

The Time Magazine  listed Kuwait Oil Fires on #3 spot  in Top 10 Environmental Disasters depicting this tragedy and its its horrific Environmental effect.

Saddam Hussein knew the war was over. He could not have Kuwait, so he wasn’t about to let anyone else benefit from its riches. As the 1991 Persian Gulf War drew to a close, Hussein sent men to blow up Kuwaiti oil wells. Approximately 600 were set ablaze, and the fires — literally towering infernos — burned for seven months. The Gulf was awash in poisonous smoke, soot and ash. Black rain fell. Lakes of oil were created. As NASA wrote, “The sand and gravel on the land’s surface combined with oil and soot to form a layer of hardened “TARCRETE ” over almost 5 percent of the country’s area.” Scores of livestock and other animals died from the oily mist, their lungs blackened by the liquid.

Burning oil wells in Kuwait

Kuwait along with the fearless men & women who worked on the Fire fighting measures have battled these for days & months & they have won.

When we recently visited the newly renovated Bayt Al Othman Museum, I was really impressed how they are keeping the past alive. Even if you’re not a war oficionado, you can learn a lot if you visit this type of Museum. Bayt Al Othman is so interactive.They have displayed various artifacts and memorabilias for Fires of Kuwait. Its interesting to see  the Firefighting gears, boots, the capes, hats, and other instruments used during the massive oil fires.

Bayt  Al-Othman Museum

Fires of Kuwait is a 1992  Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Feature. It totally covers the whole story of Kuwait under fire & how the concerned countries contribute to help save Kuwait.  Indeed, Fires of Kuwait is a dramatic story of human ingenuity, cooperation and courage. If you are curious about Kuwait and its Battle with the Burning oil wells after the war, I highly recommend to watch this documentary film. It’s also a great bonding time with the family. When my parents in-laws visited us here in Kuwait, we booked them a ticket for them to see this film in the Imax theater of Scientific Center. We’re glad we did it because they loved it.

If you are an Expat living in K-town &  looking for worthwhile thing to do, Why not  learn more about the Fires of Kuwait, head on to Scientific Center for you to watch this in their IMAX Theatre. They have their schedules on their website.

Or you can watch more of the Fires of Kuwait  Here.

What about you, what is the recent piece of History that you’ve learned  from the country where you lived in right now?

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Thank you for reading. Salam!