The Quail Fire broke out -- in the mountains, above Alpine -- last July 3, and claimed about 2200 acres. It threatened -- but did not damage -- several homes.
Authorities believe the fire was started by heavy equipment operators, working at an Alpine park.
The feds have said they won't pursue criminal charges in the case.
They just want at least some of their money back.
A civil suit, now being prepared, is expected to seek hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.