“The Kuwaiti oil fires were caused by Iraqi military forces setting fire to more than 700 oil wells as part of a scorched earth policy while retreating from Kuwait in 1991 after invading the country but being driven out by Coalition military forces during the Persian Gulf War. The fires started in January and February 1991 and the last one was extinguished by November 1991.” See Wikipedia Article
Why did it happen?
By the eve of the Iraqi invasion, Kuwait had set production quotas to almost 1.9 million barrels per day (300,000 m3/d), which coincided with a sharp drop in the price of oil. By the summer of 1990, Kuwaiti overproduction had become a serious point of contention with Iraq.
Some analysts have speculated that one of Saddam Hussein’s main motivations in invading Kuwait was to punish the ruling al-Sabah family in Kuwait for not stopping its policy of overproduction, as well as his reasoning behind the destruction of said wells.
- “The Economic and Environmental Impact of the Gulf War on Kuwait and the Persian Gulf”. The Trade & Environment Database. American University. 2000-12-01. Retrieved 2007-02-14