The air pollutant index (API) reading in Palembang, South Sumatra, is nearing the 1,000 mark. As of 10am local time on Thursday (Oct 1), the API stood at 829 in the Indonesian city.
"It's bad. It hurts our throat and contaminates our eyes. We can't see clearly," said 26-year-old English teacher Jaya.
"The smoke comes inside our house in the morning, afternoon and evening. When we sleep we can still smell the thick smoke. My friends are posting on social media asking for international help," he added.
The dense haze in the region is caused by illegal fires, which are set to clear vast tracts of land to make way for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations. Indonesia has failed to halt the practice despite years of pressure from its neighbours.
In Palembang, local residents said they are used to living with the haze which has since the 1980s become an annual occurrence.
"I'm used to it but of course it's still disturbing. It hurts our breathing and sight. I've lived here 56 years and it has been happening since the 1980s. This year is bad but 1997 was the worst," said Pa Benny, a local driver. "We want to find a safety zone but we are used to living here so we can't leave. It happens every year so we are used to it."
Malaysia and Singapore have also been badly affected by the haze this year, with schools in Malaysia closed for three days before re-opening on Thursday.
PSI levels in Singapore crossed the 300 mark for the first time in 2015 last week, forcing schools to suspend lessons. On Wednesday, Indonesia President Joko Widodo said it will take around "three years" to solve the haze problem.