ASSIGNMENTS: KUWAIT 1991
Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator, transformed a desert paradise into an environmental disaster. Saddam promised to set six hundred oil wells alight when he was forced to withdraw from the occupation of Kuwait during the first Gulf War.
These wells spitted out orange fireballs and screamed like wild animals. The smoke was so thick that when the winds changed, the late morning turned into night. Oil fell from the sky and the heat and wind was a present danger.
The burning oilfields of Ahmadi, Dharif, Umm Quadir, Wafra, Minagish, Rawdatayn were what many remember from the first Gulf War.
It was Saddam’s revenge and one of the worst environmental disasters in recent history.
If I can’t have the oil, you are not getting it. It was Saddam's last desperate gesture to the world.
The fires started burning in February 1991 and the last one was put out in November 1991.
I spent two weeks with brave firefighters from Texas and Calgary who were flown in to do the dangerous job of putting out the fires.
The heat, smoke and risk of explosions made it a dangerous assignment.