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His House Survived a Devastating Wildfire. Now, It's an Island in the Ashes.

In October 2017, the city of Santa Rosa was hit by the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in California state history. Local resident Gerald Buhrz remembers that night vividly, having only just narrowly escaped with his wife to safety. When the flames subsided, he returned to find that nearly every home in his close-knit neighborhood of Fountaingrove was destroyed by the fires. Every home, that is, except one.

Expecting the worst, Buhrz was stunned to discover his house was one of the last few still standing after the disaster. In this short film by Austin Meyer, Buhrz looks to the future as he shares what it’s like to live amidst the complete devastation of a once-thriving community.

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The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic's belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.