Firefighters progressing in stopping oil-well fires in Iraq

With the horizon blackened with thick billowing smoke, Islamic State militants have left a dark mark on the northern Iraqi town of Qayyara.

The militants once controlled these oil fields and refineries, bringing in nearly $700,000 a day back in 2014.

But as the Iraqi army took back control this year, IS fled, setting the fields on fire.

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Iraq oil well fires
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Iraq oil well fires

Fire fighters try to extinguish the fire at oil wells, were set on fire by Daesh terrorists as they fled after Al Qayyarah town's cleansing from Daesh militants as the operation to retake Iraq's Mosul from Daesh continues, in Al Qayyarah Town of Mosul, Nineveh, Iraq on November 02, 2016.

(Photo by Yunus Keles/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Children are seen at the street as smoke rise from oil wells, were set on fire by Daesh terrorists to limit coalition forces pilots' eyesight and to make the wells out o service following Iraqi army's retaking of Al Qayyarah town from Daesh during the operation to retake Iraq's Mosul from Daesh, in Mosul, Iraq on October 25, 2016. Black smoke affects human life in town badly.

(Photo by Emrah Yorulmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A fireman tries to extinguish fire from oil wells, set ablaze by Islamic State militants before fleeing the oil-producing region of Qayyara, Iraq, November 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani)

People look on as fire fighters try to extinguish the fire at oil wells, were set on fire by Daesh terrorists as they fled after Al Qayyarah town's cleansing from Daesh militants as the operation to retake Iraq's Mosul from Daesh continues, in Al Qayyarah Town of Mosul, Nineveh, Iraq on November 02, 2016.

(Photo by Yunus Keles/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Smoke billows from a burning oil well, set ablaze by retreating Islamic State (IS) group's jihadists, in Qayyarah, some 35 miles south of Mosul on November 25, 2016.

(THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)

Fire fighters try to extinguish the fire at oil wells, were set on fire by Daesh terrorists as they fled after Al Qayyarah town's cleansing from Daesh militants as the operation to retake Iraq's Mosul from Daesh continues, in Al Qayyarah Town of Mosul, Nineveh, Iraq on November 02, 2016.

(Photo by Yunus Kele/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Oilfields burned by Islamic State fighters are seen in Qayyara, south of Mosul, Iraq December,21, 2016.

(REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

Smoke rise from oil wells, were set on fire by Daesh terrorists to limit coalition forces pilots' eyesight and to make the wells out o service following Iraqi army's retaking of Al Qayyarah town from Daesh during the operation to retake Iraq's Mosul from Daesh, in Mosul, Iraq on October 25, 2016. Black smoke affects human life in town badly.

(Photo by Emrah Yorulmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Oilfields burned by Islamic State fighters are seen in Qayyara, south of Mosul, Iraq November 23, 2016.

(REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

Smoke rises from oil wells set ablaze by Islamic State militants before fleeing the oil-producing region of Qayyara, Iraq December 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani)

Smoke rise from oil wells, were set on fire by Daesh terrorists to limit coalition forces pilots' eyesight and to make the wells out o service following Iraqi army's retaking of Al Qayyarah town from Daesh during the operation to retake Iraq's Mosul from Daesh, in Mosul, Iraq on October 25, 2016. Black smoke affects human life in town badly.

(Photo by Emrah Yorulmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Oil workers react in front of oilfields burned by Islamic State fighters in Qayyara, south of Mosul, Iraq December 21, 2016.

(REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

A fireman tries to extinguish fires from oil wells, set ablaze by Islamic State militants before fleeing the oil-producing region of Qayyara, Iraq, November 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani)

MOSUL, IRAQ - NOVEMBER 03: Smoke rises behind the collapsed buildings after the clashes between Iraqi forces and Daesh terrorists at Al Qayyarah town, as the operation to retake Iraq's Mosul from Daesh continues, in Al Qayyarah Town of Mosul, Nineveh, Iraq on November 03, 2016.

(Photo by Yunus Keles/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Children are seen at the street as smoke rise from oil wells, were set on fire by Daesh terrorists to limit coalition forces pilots' eyesight and to make the wells out o service following Iraqi army's retaking of Al Qayyarah town from Daesh during the operation to retake Iraq's Mosul from Daesh, in Mosul, Iraq on October 25, 2016. Black smoke affects human life in town badly.

(Photo by Emrah Yorulmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Workers tasked with putting out the fire in an oil well, set ablaze by retreating Islamic State (IS) jihadists, assemble a water pipeline in the town of Qayyarah, some 70 km south of Mosul on November 20, 2016. Firefighters and engineers pumped water into the well in an effort to stop the fire.

(ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

The sun cuts through the smoke as workers tasked with putting out the fire in an oil well, set ablaze by retreating Islamic State (IS) jihadists, assemble a water pipeline in the town of Qayyarah, some 70 km south of Mosul on November 20, 2016. Firefighters and engineers pumped water into the well in an effort to stop the fire.

(ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

A member of the Iraqi security forces looks at fire from oil wells set ablaze by Islamic State militants before they fled the oil-producing region of Qayyara, Iraq, November 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani)

Girls are reflected in oil as they walk near smoke rising from oil wells, set ablaze by Islamic State militants before IS militants fled the oil-producing region of Qayyara, Iraq, November 1, 2016.

(REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani)

A boy eats food left over by oil workers in front of oilfields burned by Islamic State fighters in Qayyara, south of Mosul, Iraq November 23, 2016.

(REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

Firefighters work to extinguish an oil well set on fire by fleeing ISIS members on November 9, 2016 in Al Qayyarah, Iraq. Many families have begun returning to their homes in recently liberated towns south of Mosul. Oil wells in the area that were set on fire by ISIS continue to burn blanketing the area in think clouds of smoke and oil.

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

People look on as fire fighters try to extinguish the fire at oil wells, were set on fire by Daesh terrorists as they fled after Al Qayyarah town's cleansing from Daesh militants as the operation to retake Iraq's Mosul from Daesh continues, in Al Qayyarah Town of Mosul, Nineveh, Iraq on November 02, 2016.

(Photo by Yunus Keles/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

People look on as fire fighters try to extinguish the fire at oil wells, were set on fire by Daesh terrorists as they fled after Al Qayyarah town's cleansing from Daesh militants as the operation to retake Iraq's Mosul from Daesh continues, in Al Qayyarah Town of Mosul, Nineveh, Iraq on November 02, 2016.

(Photo by Yunus Keles/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Oilfields burned by Islamic State fighters are seen in Qayyara, south of Mosul, Iraq November 23, 2016.

(REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

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The fires left a major mess for firefighters, who now control seven out of the 18 wells affected by the fires, says Northern Oil Company engineer Ayad Khalaf.

But with the militants gone, Khalaf says they're making progress and working as fast as they can.

Khalaf adds, "We can say that we are past the crisis and we are in control of the nearby wells that affect the environment. We are moving forward and working non-stop at various locations."

Nonstop work that firefighters and officials hope will bring clear skies back to Qayyara and soon.

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